Despite high-profile escape, Hawaii State Hospital earns re-accreditation

Despite high-profile escape, Hawaii State Hospital earns re-accreditation

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly two months after a high-profile patient escaped the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe, the Department of Health announced the facility earned re-accreditation for another three years.

DOH officials say random facility surveys were conducted by The Joint Commission three times between August 2017 and January 2018. Surveyors made on-site observations and evaluations, and found the hospital operates within standards.

"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," William May, Hawaii State Hospital administrator, said.

In November, Randall Saito, a man acquitted for a gruesome 1979 murder by reason of insanity, managed to escape the facility. He was on the run for four days before authorities captured him in California.

Documents that later surfaced also said Saito had sexual relations with hospital staff in earlier years.

Many questions still remain over his escape.

Hospital officials weren't able to share to share many details about the escape in the days following. Some were left wondering why it took so long for the public to be notified about the escape.

"It was a major breakdown in our Hawaii State Hospital protocols, procedures and guidelines. In this case, there was fault on our side and we're doing what we can to address the issues that allowed that to happen," Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Pressler said in November.

Despite the systematic breakdown, The Joint Commission still found the hospital earned the re-accreditation.

"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.

The current 202-bed facility provides psychiatric and other services for court-ordered individuals.

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