TAUNTON (CBS/AP) – The state of Massachusetts is looking into why Morton Hospital released a man hours before he went on a deadly stabbing rampage in Taunton.
Arthur DaRosa, 28, was shot and killed by a deputy sheriff at restaurant in the Silver City Galleria Tuesday after DaRosa killed two people and hurt five others.
DaRosa's family said an ambulance took him to Morton Hospital at 5 p.m. Monday and that he was discharged at 4 a.m. Tuesday. The family claims he had suicidal thoughts, but said the hospital treated him only for anxiety.
In a statement, Morton Hospital distanced itself from the doctor who treated DaRosa.
"Any questions regarding evaluations performed by state contractors should be directed to the appropriate state agency," said hospital spokeswoman Julie Masci.
"If the state contracted agency responsible for conducting evaluations in the Emergency Department had requested an admission to a psychiatric bed, there were beds available within the hospital's network."
Masci would not comment on DaRosa.
"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."
State policy allows for a psychiatric evaluation to determine if a person can be hospitalized involuntarily for a period of up to three days. The hospitalization can be ordered if the evaluation determines there is a likelihood of "serious harm" because of mental illness.
The state Department of Mental Health operates an emergency services program that responds to the Morton Hospital emergency room upon request, officials said.
Masci said 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."
"As we have said in the past, the current policy mandating that the evaluation process must be carried out by a third party state contractor is misguided."
Masci said the hospital has asked "for several years" that they be "allowed to direct these assessments independently through qualified psychiatrists, clinicians, and other medical personnel who have been subject to the hospital credentialing process, peer review process, and the policies that guide the care of every other patient – and not through an outside state contracted vendor who we do not choose."
The Massachusetts office of Health and Human Services is now reviewing the entire series of events.
"No one can be released from a hospital without a certification that's jointly signed by the provider organization and by the emergency services program, which means somebody at Morton Hospital also signed the same document that the emergency services people signed. But, obviously, looking into that is part of the investigation," Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters Thursday.
"Historically, the operation between the Commonwealth and all the providers has always been a collaborative one and its set up that way specifically, so that you don't end up with one party making a decision on this sort of thing, which is, frankly, I think as it should be."
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