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Judge: Mental hospital shouldn’t have lost funding

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MORGANTON, N.C. — An administrative law judge has ruled that a North Carolina mental hospital should never have had its funding halted because of an investigation following a patient’s death.

In his 42-page opinion, Administrative Law Judge Keith W. Sickendick said the facts did not support the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ decision to decertify Broughton Hospital in Morganton.

Funding was blocked for the hospital in August 2007. The decision came after an investigation into the death earlier that year of Broughton patient Anthony Dawayne Lowery who, according to an autopsy report, died of asphyxia after a staff member sat on his torso.

The state Attorney General’s office appealed the center’s decision.

Department of Health and Human Secretary Lanier Cansler said the process to collect the money denied to Broughton will start immediately.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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An administrative law judge has ruled that a North Carolina mental hospital should never have had its funding halted because of an investigation following a patient’s death.

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