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NC Department of Health and Human Services

DHHS will hire an independent hospital management firm to evaluate Cherry Hospital; also plans to add additional security

Release Date: August 28, 2008
Contact: Tom Lawrence (919) 733-9190 or (919) 218-2192 (cell)

RALEIGH – DHHS Secretary Dempsey Benton has directed the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services (MH/DD/SAS) to contract the services of an independent outside hospital management firm to evaluate the operational and management structure of Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro.  Secretary Benton has also directed Division management to increase the number of security personnel on the campus.

“The serious and ongoing nature of issues at Cherry Hospital has convinced me that an outside evaluation by an independent hospital management group is necessary in order to identify problems and to recommend immediate steps for corrections and improvements,” Benton said. 

MH/DD/SAS Co-Director Leza Wainwright said the Secretary directed Division management to contract with an independent hospital management consulting firm to do an operational and clinical evaluation of Cherry Hospital. The contractor will also have on-site management responsibility for the hospital while conducting the evaluation. She said the Division hopes to identify a firm and have a contract in place within two weeks.

“We want a top-to-bottom evaluation of every aspect of the hospital including staffing, organizational structure, the competence and effectiveness of managers and supervisors at all levels, and all other components of hospital management and operational activities,” Wainwright said. ”We will be looking for their recommendations for any structural and personnel adjustments the Division needs to implement to ensure that Cherry Hospital is equipped to deliver the quality of care people expect and deserve from a state psychiatric hospital.”

The Secretary also directed the Division to implement increased security at Cherry Hospital. Wainwright said that the Division is in talks with local law enforcement agencies to negotiate the hiring of off-duty officers as contracted employees for a higher level of security presence on the campus.



Updated: September 19, 2008