WARM SPRINGS — A new report from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) found four recent deaths attributed to negligence by the Montana State Hospital in Deer Lodge County.
One death was due to a patient falling numerous times, causing internal bleeding in the brain, and three deaths were due to COVID infections. The findings placed the hospital in immediate jeopardy of losing federal funding.
"People don’t want to go to work anymore, everybody’s leaving, all the local people." said one Montana State hospital employee, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Two Montana State Hospital employees say they felt like prisoners every time they stepped into work.
These employees, on the condition of being kept anonymous, say that administrators are running the hospital like a prison.
"That’s their mentality. I think they don’t have that ‘This is a hospital.’ One of the units is a forensic unit, they are criminally insane, but they’re still ill. Other units, these guys are civil." said an employee of the hospital.
Montana State Hospital has been under fire since December when CMS released a report detailing the hospital’s failings.
One employee, speaking on behalf of his coworkers and union, says administrators have been trying to stop his unit from receiving overtime pay which goes against their union contract, so an arbitration was filed and settled.
"It would have messed a lot of people’s lives up by just changing our hours and days off and everything when they’re really not allowed to do that," he said.
In a letter addressed to Kyle Fouts, the hospital administrator, CMS found the Montana State Hospital violated patient rights and infection prevention control and has given the hospital until March 13 to correct the problems.
"I mean I don’t foresee the management getting any better in whatever days it is but for these patients that’s what it’s about. These guys are the ones suffering." said an employee of the hospital.
MTN News has contacted the hospital for a response, but not yet received a reply.