CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Officials celebrated Tuesday the licensing of a new state psychiatric hospital.
The Roosevelt Benton Center, formerly a part of Eleanor Slater Hospital, will be home to the Rhode Island State Psychiatric Hospital (RISPH). The hospital will operate as a standalone facility, which Gov. Dan McKee’s office said will improve patient care.
“Licensure of the Benton facility as a standalone hospital marks a critical step in our work to transform Rhode Island’s behavioral health continuum of care by preserving and improving access to quality, cost effective healthcare,” Executive Office of Health & Human Services Acting Secretary Ana Novais said.
The facility’s new designation will make it eligible for up to $40 million in federal reimbursements per year, according to the governor’s office.
“It means the state will be better position to care of psychiatric patients,” McKee said. “It also means the state will be better positioned to seek federal funding to support patient care.”
The RISPH will continue to treat court-ordered psychiatric patients, McKee’s office noted.
Eleanor Slater Hospital has been plagued with controversy in recent years. The hospital has been ineligible to receive federal funding under a rule that limits the percentage of psychiatric patients a facility can house in comparison to medical patients. The hospital has been out of compliance for more than a year.
The R.I. Attorney General’s office launched an investigation in 2021 into the hospital’s operations.