Weather Forecast


N.D. State Hospital receives award

The North Dakota State Hospital was recognized as a top performing hospital for 2012 by the Joint Commission, the only inpatient psychiatric hospital in the nation to receive the honor.

NDSH Superintendent Alex Schweitzer said at the NDSH Governing Board meeting Monday that the Joint Commission, a national nonprofit medical center accrediting organization, gave out awards to hospitals across the nation. The State Hospital was recognized as a top performing hospital in key quality measures.

“It’s a big deal because only 1,099 hospitals (in the country) were recognized by the Joint Commission (for similar awards),” he said. With the top performing recognition, Schweitzer said the State Hospital is in the top 33 percent of accredited hospitals in the nation.

Schweitzer said the hospital was recognized for how the staff uses data it collects on the patients.

“We use the data we collect and apply it to improve or change the care our patients receive every day,” he said.

Being recognized by the Joint Commission was one of the hospital’s key accomplishments for 2013, Schweitzer said. The Joint Commission also gave an “award of excellence” to the NDSH for helping discharged patients with planning for their care after discharge.

In other business, the board:

* accepted a report from Ken Schulz, NDSH chief operating officer, about the capital improvement budget for the 2013-15 biennium. Schulz said he added three items to the capital improvement budget; $106,000 for the heating plant boiler repair, $86,640 for repairs to the heating plant wall and $150,000 to renovate part of the L200 building to provide four additional beds for forensic admissions.

Schulz said the boiler repair is to replace a valve in the system that would allow the boiler to burn either fuel oil or natural gas. Currently the boiler can only burn fuel oil as the valve needs to be replaced. The heating plant wall repair is related to the boiler work.

Schweitzer said the renovation to the L200 building was needed due to an increase in forensic admissions in 2013. The overall capital improvements budget of $1,775,168 for the biennium will not change as the State Hospital staff will make adjustments to the budget.

* accepted a report from Leah Schulz, NDSH director of nursing, that the total number of restraint hours for patients in the third quarter of this year was 2,028. Schulz said most of the hours were for one patient, around 1,800 hours, with the remaining 228 hours spread amongst other patients.

Dr. Rosalie Etherington, clinical director of adult inpatient psychiatric and clinical dependency services at the State Hospital, said the patient in question has been involved with more than 200 assaults against staff and patients. When the patient in questioned is restrained, the staff uses mobile restraints, mainly at the waist and wrists. Federal law requires hospitals to always use the least restrictive method of restraint possible.

Schulz said without this one patient, the total number of restraint hours for the third quarter of 2013 would be near the State Hospital’s annual average of 235 hours.

 Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454