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Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital under investigation after neglect accusations

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital is now under investigation by the state, following accusations of patient neglect.

The hospital's director and director of nursing are suspended, as state investigators from the Michigan Department of Community Health interview staff and patients.

Newschannel 3 has learned that an acting director from the state level was brought in on Monday to oversee operations at the hospital.

State investigators aren't saying much else at this point, saying that patient safety is a priority.

"Neglect is an over-arcing term, a formal term, and it does really encompass anything that could potentially happen," said Michigan Department of Community Health spokesperson Angela Minicuci.

Hospital Director James Coleman and the director of nurses were suspended this week, but the state Department of Community Health would not discuss details.

According to an audit summary released on the hospital in 2011, four critical incidents happened there from October of 2007 to June of 2010, involving assault, injury, or death of patients.

The audit states the hospital did not follow the right treatment plans, policies, or requirements.

Also it was reported that 21 times patients walked away, ran away, or escaped during that time.

Records show direct care staff needed more training to ensure safety.

The hospital responded to the audit, saying it gave additional training to the nursing staff, revised its staff reporting responsibilities for when someone goes missing, and changed the way things are reported, investigated, and responded to during complaints.

"We want to make sure these patients are receiving the highest quality of care and any instance when neglect is alleged, we want to make sure we give it the full ability to be investigated," Minicuci said.

State investigators couldn't tell us at this point how they became aware of the allegations, or what kind of patients are involved.