Counterpoint Winter 2018 • News • Page 10

WATERBURY – The Department of Mental Health has worked with Springfield Hospital for revisions to the policies for its new electroconvulsive therapy service, according to Mourning Fox, the interim commissioner. Counterpoint raised concerns in August about compliance with state standards.

Fox said in late November that, although the revisions are not yet final, he had sent his most recent suggested edits to the hospital and it “seemed amenable to the changes.”

He said the revisions addressed all of the issues identified as most problematic by Counterpoint in September.

The revised policy makes clear that ECT will be provided for adults only and that even a medical guardian for an adult who is not competent to make medical decisions requires court authority to consent over a patient’s objections, Fox said.

The original policy allowed for consent to ECT by parents of a child and contemplated seeking court orders if a competent adult refused consent.

The new policy also specifies that ECT provided at Springfield Hospital will use the DMH materials for informed consent and will be limited to “maintenance ECT,” meaning that the hospital will use it only to prevent relapse with patients who had an initial series of ECT at another hospital.

One patient received ECT at Springfield Hospital in October, according to information the hospital provided to DMH.

Devon Green of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems said it “has had some good conversations with Springfield Hospital and the Department of Mental Health. 

“We found that we all had similar positions and worked to clarify the policy accordingly.  We are still waiting on a few final details.”

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