Atlantic Shores cited for violations of Florida Mental Health Act

Atlantic Shores Hospital was cited by the Agency for Health Care Administration for failing to honor a patient’s right to consent and for not complying with Florida Mental Health Act (“Baker Act”) requirements.  AHCA found that the hospital failed to honor a patient’s right to request voluntary admission and discharge. Even though the patient was assessed as competent to sign for voluntary admission, the facility failed to ask him to give “express and informed consent” to be placed as a voluntary patient. As a result, the patient was held under “involuntary status” under the Baker Act for 105 hours until his discharge.

AHCA surveyors also determined that the facility failed to appoint a representative for the involuntary status patient, as required by the Baker Act. An interview with the Director of Clinical Services revealed that a representative was not appointed for the patient because “‘It was missed at the time of admission.'” The facility also failed to follow Baker Act requirements for obtaining express and informed consent for treatment and medications. The facility administered psychotropic medications such as Prozac, Ativan, Vistaril, and Ambien, to the patient without obtaining proper consent. A nurse allowed the patient to sign a blank form for the administration of the medications, without first going through all of the steps for consent.

AHCA also found that Atlantic Shores Hospital failed to comply with Baker Act reporting requirements. The facility is required to complete Baker Act reporting to AHCA within the next working day. However, the facility failed to complete this reporting within the required time frame for 34 of 36 patients admitted under the Baker Act during the sampled time frame of 1/21/13 -1/31/13 and 9/8/2013 -9/16/13.