State hid findings of ‘life-threatening’ errors at troubled mental health center

Colorado News Collaborative: A pattern of “severe, life-threatening” prescription errors by the troubled mental health center responsible for treating 10 Western Slope counties put many of its patients at risk, according to the findings of an official investigation that three state agencies withheld from the public for more than nine months.

The problems only came to light this month as reporters for the Colorado News Collaborative, including The Gazette, were investigating. 

State officials kept the June 2021 findings secret despite mounting public concerns about the Grand Junction-based Mind Springs Health and its psychiatric hospital, West Springs. ​​Mind Springs patients remained in the dark even though problems were so acute that the state’s Medicaid contractor would not authorize payment for newly admitted hospital patients for three months until Mind Springs agreed to make wide-ranging changes.

The state’s hidden investigation found that of a sample of 58 Mind Springs outpatient clients, nearly half received a quality of care so poor that it was categorized as having potentially “severe, life-threatening impact.” Two died.

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