In a recent article

critical of Dr. Jerome Miller and the D.C. Office of Child and Family Services (“A Leaky Receivership,” 1/31), a number of statements were made about Riverside Hospital that are false and grossly misleading. Here are the facts:

1.) Riverside Hospital is a 150-bed private psychiatric hospital for the treatment of psychiatrically ill children, adolescents,and young adults. It is not a community “residential facility” or a group home or a boarding home. It has never represented itself as such.

2.) It has been licensed as a psychiatric hospital since Dec. 7, 1995.

3.) It has been accredited as a psychiatric hospital by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations since October 1995. It was awarded the Joint Commission’s highest recognition of quality—”Accreditation with Commendation”—an award granted to only about 15 percent of health care facilities nationally.

4.) Riverside has never accepted or treated patients without being licensed and accredited.

5.) On Oct. 23, 1996, Riverside was approved for participation in the Medicaid program.

6.) Riverside’s chief psychiatric consultant has been Joseph Noshpitz, M.D., an internationally renowned child psychiatrist (recently deceased). It has a staff of highly qualified and experienced psychiatrists and other professionals.

7.) Adolescent patients referred to Riverside from the D.C. Department of Child and Family Services were evaluated by psychiatrists and appropriately admitted for the treatment of severe psychiatric illness. Riverside was both accredited and licensed at all times.

8.) In June 1996, a 16-year-old severely disturbed female patient accused a mental health aide at the hospital of sexually touching her. This patient had been in and out of treatment facilities for years and had recently been expelled from another facility for uncontrollable behavior.

She had made it clear to staff and patients that she was going to get out of Riverside. The accused staff member had years of previous unblemished experience.

Following accepted procedure, the staff member was placed on administrative leave. He was arrested and arraigned. To our knowledge, the case was later dropped for lack of evidence. The hospital was not accused of any impropriety. The patient was placed elsewhere.

Dr. Miller and his staff acted promptly, appropriately, and professionally in all ways to investigate and assure the safety and appropriate treatment of all patients referred by them to Riverside. Riverside cooperated fully with his staff.

Dr. Jacob Fishman has been a psychiatric consultant to Riverside. He is not and has never been an owner. He has had a long and distinguished career as a psychiatrist. Dr. Fishman has developed many high-quality psychiatric facilities throughout the United States, as well as providing service to the District of Columbia and the federal government. His medical license has never been in question, suspended, revoked, or reprimanded. The reference to North Carolina concerns a civil settlement based on a dispute about billing. The improper activities of a bookkeeper and not Dr. Fishman personally were in question.

The facility in North Carolina was at all times recognized by the state and the Joint Commission for the quality of its services.

We welcome visitors to Riverside to assess quality of care for themselves.

Administrator

Riverside Hospital

Editor’s Note: City Paper stands behind the facts it reported about Riverside Hospital.