- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 9, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The Riverview Psychiatric Center received high marks in a survey by a national health care accreditation group, underscoring progress made at the hospital after it lost federal certification when an inspection uncovered problems, Maine Department of Health and Human Services officials said.

The report last week from the Joint Commission, a leading national health care accreditation group, shows the Augusta hospital meets standards on key metrics, including the use of restraints, seclusion and anti-psychotic drugs that have been a lightning rod for critics, DHHS spokesman David Sorensen said Wednesday.

The loss of federal certification is expected to cost the state about $20 million.

To regain certification, the hospital needs a residential facility for patients from the criminal justice system who don’t require hospital-level care, Sorensen said.

DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew called on lawmakers to work with the administration. She said lawmakers too often have “reflexively obstructed and watered-down much needed reforms.”

“I urge the Legislature to work with us and not against us to continue to improve operations at Riverview and to better address the unique needs of those clients who arrive through the criminal justice system mandated to remain in a secure setting but do not require an expensive, hospital level of care,” she said.

A federal judge ruled last month that the state missed its deadline for appealing the certification decision, which followed an inspection that found a number of problems including overcrowding and the use of correctional officers to oversee patients. Other problems found in the inspection and subsequent reviews related to the use of stun guns and handcuffs, medication errors, and paperwork.

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