The United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) investigates hospitals throughout the country to check for compliance. A poor investigation can result in serious ramifications, including the inability to receive funding through CMS.
These investigations can be triggered by a range of events, including suspicious patient deaths. Three Texas facilities were recently the subject of comprehensive CMS inspections that resulted in findings of preventable deaths. As a result, the hospitals faced increased state and federal scrutiny.
The three were:
- MD Anderson. As discussed in a previous post, available here, the agency investigated the cancer center over the summer and found multiple preventable deaths. Overall, the report resulted in 268 pages of deficiencies and infractions, ranging from low-risk to deadly.
- St Luke’s. The CMS increased oversight of St. Luke’s after a transfusion error within the emergency department resulted in the death of a patient. The agency cleared the facility after a second inspection found the hospital had fixed the issues that led to the problem.
- Ben Taub. The hospital experienced two patient deaths due to untimely medical care. The patients died in the waiting room while waiting for treatment. This led to a CMS investigation. The hospital is awaiting a second investigation and report to determine if the facility will need continued oversight.
To overcome a previous negative investigation, the hospitals must generally provide a correction plan. The CMS will then choose to accept or reject the plan. If accepted, the facility must implement the plan and undergo another, future inspection. If the CMS’ second inspection is satisfactory, the facility may redeem its status with the CMS.
In the case of MD Anderson, CMS conducted its second inspection last week. The facility expects reinstatement within the month.