Morton Hospital on Taunton stabbings: current policy ‘misguided’

taunton scene Collage_301882

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — The investigation into a violent rampage  in Taunton that left three people dead and another two injured Tuesday night continued Thursday morning.

Arthur DaRosa, who was shot dead after investigators said he stabbed four people at two scenes, sought treatment for a mental health issue one day before his deadly rampage, his family said.

According to police, DaRosa stabbed two women in a Taunton home Tuesday night after crashing his vehicle. He then drove to the Silver City Galleria Mall, crashed his car into Macy’s and then stabbed two people eating at a Bertucci’s restaurant. An off-duty sheriff’s deputy who was in the restaurant brought the rampage to an end by shooting DaRosa.

According to reports obtained by Eyewitness News, DaRosa has three prior convictions from several years ago.

DaRosa’s family said he checked into Morton Hospital on Monday night for suicidal thoughts. He was reportedly treated for anxiety and released early Tuesday.

Timeline: How the Taunton stabbing rampage unfolded »

Now, investigators are looking into why the hospital released DaRosa less than 24 hours after he sought help. Officials say the law does prevent health care providers from holding mentally ill people against their will unless there is a clear indication that they are a danger to themselves or others.

The hospital also mentioned that third-party subcontractors are responsible for assessing and evaluating Medicaid patients’ course of treatment.

In a statement to Eyewitness News on Wednesday, Morton Hospital said:

“Under federal law, Morton Hospital is barred from acknowledging patient names or disclosing any form of confidential patient information. This law extends to patients whose evaluations and assessments are legally required to be led and conducted by third parties selected through MassHealth.

Morton Hospital has been advocating for years that the state review and revise its policies that require outside third party vendors to evaluate and determine the course of treatment for Medicaid patients in emergency departments.

Later in the day Thursday, hospital spokesperson Michele Fasano issued a second statement, saying in part:

“Effective today, Morton Hospital has banned the state selected sub-contractor Norton Emergency Services, aka Taunton/ Attleboro Emergency Services (NES/ TAES) from evaluating or recommending treatment for any patient at Morton Hospital.”

According to Fasano, NES/ TAES is subcontracted through MassHealth and is charged by law with the responsibility of evaluating patients who enter the Morton emergency department.

The hospital said it has previously asked to utilize its own credentialed staff and properly vetted medical personnel to conduct evaluations, but current state policy has mandated that the evaluations are carried out by third-party subcontractors.

Fasano said NES/ TAES is independent and is not retained or compensated by the hospital – and the company is overseen by state agencies. According to the statement, all NES/ TAES employees are considered to be state employees.

“During the period of 12:30A.M. to 8:00 A.M. this morning, NES/TAES failed to evaluate multiple patients in our Emergency Department in a timely way and when Morton Hospital proposed to do the evaluations ourselves we were rebuffed or ignored by the subcontractor. This inability of the state subcontractor to provide critical and timely services continues to put patients at risk.

Effectively immediately, we will provide our own evaluation services conducted by licensed and credentialed members of our staff who are subject to peer review and direct oversight.”

Investigators still do not have a clear motive for Tuesday’s attacks.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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