The chief medical officer of Eleanor Slater Hospital says he chose to leave his job because he feels the hospital is resuming practices he said led to “patient abuse” and he fears retaliation for speaking out about the problems.

In a four-page letter of resignation submitted on Thursday, Dr. Brian P. Daly, who specializes in forensic psychiatry, describes long-standing problems at the state-run hospital, which state officials routinely toured. 

After a national accreditation body issued a preliminary denial of accreditation in mid-June and other recent inspections, “I now believe the likelihood of an adverse event is too high,” he said in the letter. The state is “intent on returning to practices that I believe are inappropriate,’’ he said “and I feel have led to patient abuse.” 

Daly did not return phone messages requesting comment.

Daly is among a handful of employees who have raised alarms about state leaders they say for years have pressured doctors to label psychiatric patients as medical patients. The practice, they said, allowed the hospital to remain eligible for tens of millions of dollars a year in federal Medicaid reimbursements. Some patients also remained unnecessarily confined to the hospital rather than moving them into a less restrictive setting, as required by federal law.

State administrators have said that Rhode Island does not currently have the right level of care for some of Slater’s patients, who don’t require hospitalization but need more care than provided at a nursing home.

Daly, 52, said the McKee administration’s plan to resume seeking federal reimbursements “inappropriate” and said it will act as a deterrent to the needed changes because the hospital will be “too valuable just as it is.”

McKee announced Daly’s resignation on Monday. The July 1 resignation letter comes the day after McKee and his top administrators released a report at a news conference with more than 70 recommendations for changes to Slater hospital, including revamping its leadership. The report described an “entrenched culture” at Slater that includes reports of “threatening behavior, bullying, and retaliation” that need to be addressed.

Daley, who has been in his current post since July 2018, said that no one has approached him with any evidence to contradict his claims. But he also has not been treated like a “valuable employee who raised legitimate concerns,’’ he said. 

Any attempt to deflect blame on Slater staff, Daly said, would represent a “decades-long refusal to accept responsibility that has led to all of the problems at the hospital.”  

Daly said his initial plan was to remain in his position until late summer, since his new position doesn’t begin until early fall. However, he said, he moved his departure date to the end of this month after White was placed on administrative leave, which he said he believes was an act of retaliation and intimidation. 

“I feared I would be next,” he said. 

correction: a previous version of this story incorrectly reported Brian P. Daly's age.

Health reporter Lynn Arditi can be reached at larditi@thepublicsradio.org. Follow her on Twitter @LynnArditi