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Government cracks down on hospital accused of error

State inspectors recently conducted an unannounced inspection of a Connecticut hospital. As a result of this investigation, the state has accused the hospital of mixing up patients’ test specimens.

What did the state find during the inspection?

The mixed tests led to multiple problems, including misdiagnosis of cancer. Due to the misdiagnosis, a 41-year-old woman received an unnecessary hysterectomy. The investigation, conducted by the state Department of Public Health (DPH), found the woman chose to move forward with the hysterectomy based on the erroneous test results.

In another case, the hospital informed a 66-year-old woman her lab tests were normal when malignancy was present.

Ultimately, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) fined the facility $150,000 for the error. The government agency also prohibited the facility from receiving reimbursement for conducting similar tests. As a result, the facility must outsource these test to a different facility.

Could this be the end of the facility?

Although the failure to receive reimbursement is a hurdle, the CMS stated the facility could receive reimbursements in the future if it could “prove its competency.”

What can New York facilities learn from this case?

Other facilities can avoid similar problems by reviewing best practices. A regular review of best practices for similar tests can provide the opportunity to make changes as needed and ensure everyone who is involved is educated as to the proper process.

Facilities that find themselves the subject of a government investigation are wise to take proactive measures to protect their interests. An attorney experienced in these investigations can review the situation and discuss your options.