Perdue 'raises the bar' at mental hospital

October 1, 2010 1:17:52 PM PDT
Governor Beverly Perdue says she personally visited troubled Cherry Hospital to enforce accountability in an unannounced visit Friday.Cherry Hospital has been under fire since a video was released that showed a 50-year-old dying patient was largely ignored by staff members. Three workers were fired and others disciplined.

The federal government even stopped its insurance payments to the facility in September because it said conditions were dangerous for patients.

"Cherry Hospital, as you know, has been a high-profile example of what's been wrong with our state's mental health system. During the 90 minutes I spent at Cherry, I met with hospital leaders, caregivers and patients. I asked them straightforward questions and I got honest answers. I let them know that I've raised the bar," said Perdue in a statement released to the media Wednesday.

Perdue called the visit one of the ways she plans to fulfill her pledge to be a "hands on" governor. She said Secretary of Health and Human Services Lanier Cansler joined her on my visit.

"We will have zero tolerance for patient abuse or mistreatment," he told hospital leaders.

Perdue says she wants serious reform across the state's mental health care network.

"My vision is for North Carolina's mental health system to be the gold standard for the nation," she said.


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