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Published: Tuesday, 5/6/2014

Flower Hospital clears hurdle

U.S. says Medicare, Medicaid payments won’t be cut

BY MARLENE HARRIS-TAYLOR
BLADE STAFF WRITER

ProMedica Flower Hospital has cleared one hurdle in the investigation of an incident at the hospital that caused the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to consider cutting off Medicare and Medicaid payments.

Hospital officials had until Friday of this week to submit an action plan to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services outlining how it would take corrective action to ensure patient safety.

In a written statement CMS officials said Monday, “Flower Hospital has submitted an acceptable plan of correction to CMS.”

CMS officials had announced last month that Flower was “out of compliance” for patient rights but now that the action plan has been accepted Medicare and Medicaid coverage will not be interrupted as the agency continues its investigation of the incident.

“The termination date is lifted and the plan has been accepted,” said ProMedica spokesman Tedra White.

Federal officials declined to describe the nature of the incident and hospital officials would not reveal the date when the event occurred.

The next step in the process for the hospital to be cleared completely is for a team of investigators to visit the site unannounced to observe if the action plan is being implemented, CMS spokesman Elizabeth Schinderle said.

CMS officials said the issue being investigated involved “immediate jeopardy,” which according to the agency’s official manual means “a situation in which the provider’s noncompliance with one or more requirements of participation has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to a resident.”

After the “immediate jeopardy” is removed, the hospital stays in a 90-day watch period during which it is expected to develop and implement changes to correct whatever problems occurred, Ms. Schinderle said.

Alan Sattler, president of Flower, said last month that the event did not result in a loss of life, but that it prompted an investigation by the state health department.

“We own this. It’s our responsibility,” Mr. Sattler said. “We want to respect our patients’ privacy rights. ... This came about as a result of events exclusively that transpired on our psychiatric unit and we are actively working with CMS.”

Hospital officials also would not comment about an alleged rape of a patient by another patient that took place in a bathroom at Flower last month, or if it prompted the recent health department investigation.

The incident occurred at the hospital at 10:15 a.m. April 1, and was reported to a hospital employee at 11:07 p.m. April 2, said William Rhodus, Sylvania police chief.

Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at mtaylor@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.



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