CMS Threatens Funding To Dallas Mental Health Facility Following Patient’s Suicide

Over the weekend, you may have read about the sad case of Brittney Bennetts, at 37-year-old patient at Timberlawn Mental Health System in southeast Dallas who hung herself in her room from a closet doorknob using a torn bed sheet.

The Dallas Morning News detailed the case in length, revealing that an internal survey had tipped the facility off to the need to replace the knobs because of the risk that patients could use them to take their own lives. The findings came five months before Bennetts hung herself, and the newspaper reported that officials then waited another two months to replace them.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services placed it in Immediate Jeopardy, issuing a Monday deadline for the behavioral health facility to submit a corrective plan of action to avoid having its federal funding yanked. David Wright, a spokesman for the region of CMS that includes Texas, says the agency received the proposal Monday evening, but then asked for Timberlawn to make revisions by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Wright said Thursday will be the earliest that CMS will approve or deny the proposal, which then becomes public record. Stay tuned.


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