- Associated Press - Monday, June 6, 2016

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) - Federal health officials say the head of psychiatric nursing at the state-run mental health hospital lacks the appropriate credentials for the job.

The inspectors who surveyed the Human Services Center in Yankton earlier this year on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services determined that the nursing director does not have the appropriate academic degree to perform her duties, the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/212J4GM ) reported. But state officials are defending her, saying that while she doesn’t have the federally required master’s degree in psychiatric or mental health nursing, she is qualified in terms of experience.

The report of the inspection conducted in late February did not name the nursing director, but state officials on Friday identified her as Jackie Gilbertson. The inspectors flagged dozens of other issues at the facility.

“This hinders the direction of the nursing department and the level of care provided by nursing personnel,” inspectors wrote in a report to the state in March.

The facility’s new top administrator, Troy Jones, said Gilbertson has more than four decades of experience in the field. Gilbertson began working for the Human Services Center as a nurse in 1976 and became its director of psychiatric nursing in 1998.

“The individual in this role, I feel, is very qualified,” Jones said.

A call to a public phone listing for Gilbertson was not returned.

After the inspection, the state promised federal health officials to provide Gilbertson annual training and access to consultant. But Department of Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti on Friday said Gilbertson will retire this summer. Valenti said Gilbertson’s retirement was planned before federal inspectors questioned her credentials.

Valenti told the newspaper that February’s audit was the first time that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services determined that Gilbertson is not qualified for the job. The federal agency, she said, in several previous inspections had deemed Gilbertson qualified.

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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