Federal agency investigating hospital where police first brought Irvo Otieno for mental health treatment

Irvo Otieno.png
Posted at 5:40 PM, Sep 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 16:41:21-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A federal agency is investigating Henrico Doctors’ Hospital after receiving a complaint in connection to how it handled Irvo Otieno while he was a patient at the Crisis Receiving Center there on March 3.

Seven Henrico County Sheriff’s deputies and one former Central State Hospital employee currently faces charges in connection with his death on March 6.

The federal agency investigating Henrico Doctors’ Hospital is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, otherwise known as CMS.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, CMS asked VDH to conduct the investigation.

"The investigation at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital is in response to a complaint and is ongoing," a spokesperson for CMS said.

Henrico Doctors’ Hospital has a Crisis Receiving Center that, according to a previous Henrico County press release, is where “individuals in psychiatric crisis can receive prompt care from a team of health professionals.”

It operates through a partnership between the hospital and Henrico’s Crisis Intervention Team.

At some point after Otieno was brought to he hospital, Henrico Police said Otieno became physically assaultive toward officers so they arrested him, and charged him with assault on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct at a hospital, and vandalism.

They then transported him to the Henrico County Jail where he stayed until Monday. March 6.

He was then transferred to Central State Hospital, and died as Sheriff’s deputies and Central State employees held him down on the floor of the receiving room.

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Otieno’s family has questioned why Otieno was removed from a hospital when he was experiencing a mental health crisis and taken to a jail.

Both CMS and VDH said they could not comment on what the ongoing investigation into Henrico Doctors’ Hospital involves.

We asked the ownership of the hospital, HCA Healthcare, if they feel like they handled the situation appropriately, and in response, spokeswoman Pryor Green, sent us the following statement.

“Henrico Doctors’ Hospital (HDH) is fully committed to providing the highest quality care to the communities and patients it serves. Consistent with that objective, CMS regularly conducts surveys to evaluate a healthcare provider’s compliance with regulations, policies, and standards for the purpose of CMS participation. In April 2023, a survey was performed at HDH by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) at the request of CMS. HDH and its employees fully participated and cooperated in the survey performed by the VDH. To ensure the integrity of the CMS survey process, HDH cannot comment further on such surveys.”

When asked if this “investigation” is considered an “annual survey” or an “investigation,” VDH spokeswoman Brookie Crawford confirmed “it is an investigation, not an annual survey.”

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CBS 6 reporter Tyler Layne recently reported that CMS also asked VDH to investigate how another local HCA-owned hospital handled a different mental health patient.

Charles Byers was receiving mental health treatment at Chippenham Hospital’s Tucker Pavilion when a Richmond Police Officer arrested him for allegedly kicking a nurse on July 6.

Byers died two days later when he was shot by police.

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