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Hawaii State Hospital earns accreditation despite recent incident

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HONOLULU -

The Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe has earned a comprehensive accreditation from The Joint Commission, an independent health care accreditation organization, for compliance with performance standards to ensure safe and effective patient care.

The unannounced visits in fall 2017 comprised a comprehensive review that included onsite observations and interviews and an evaluation of compliance with hospital standards by a team of multidisciplinary surveyors. The three-year accreditation is effective from Sept. 2, 2017.

“Hawaii State Hospital voluntarily participates in these surveys conducted by The Joint Commission to identify ways we can continue to improve the care we provide for our patients,” said William May, Hawaii State Hospital administrator. “While there have been recent incidents that may have raised concerns about our commitment to excellence, this accreditation validates that the hospital staff places a high priority on quality care.”

Since 2010, there have been at least 17 escapes from the hospital.  The most recent escapee was Randall Saito, who was able to leave the hospital and board to plane to Maui and then to California, where he was arrested.

Saito said the way he was treated at the Hawaii State Hospital is what led to his reason to escape.

"Over the years, I've been assaulted by other patients... And even by staff at some point, but nothing ever came of it... My behavior as I said, has always been exemplary without psychotropic meds, so this is me. This is me you're talking to," said Saito.

Saito also said, "Even being arrested, you feel like more of a human being than just sitting in that hospital... And you can ask some of the staff. Ask some of the old-timers over there. They'll tell you it's the worst they've ever seen in 37 years. It's bad man."

In the past, the hospital has been also dangerous for some of the workers.  In 2015, health officials under subpoena described some of the punishment inflicted by the worst of the worst inmates, which included broken bones and skull fracture.

“We anticipate the construction of our new, 144-bed forensic facility, which is targeted for completion in 2020, will further enhance our ability to deliver effective care for the forensic patients, who we are required to admit to our facility by court orders and create a safer work environment for our employees,” May added.

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