09/30/07 — Cherry Hospital off state's danger list

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Cherry Hospital off state's danger list

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 30, 2007 2:11 AM

Cherry Hospital's "immediate jeopardy" status has been lifted and federal funding for Medicaid patients remains intact, officials announced late Friday.

The hospital came under sanctions earlier in the month when state survey teams were sent to Cherry to investigate complaints about the delivery of service to patients.

The teams, from the Division of Health Services Regulations and the Joint Commission, visited Cherry Sept. 4-7 and later filed a 52-page report of their findings. Deficiencies were found primarily in the area of patient care and safety -- failure to provide observation and documentation that resulted in the elopement of a patient, and failure to provide timely care of a patient needing emergency care.

The findings resulted in the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announcing that unless a plan was made and accepted by CMS to correct the deficiencies, the hospital would be terminated from the federal funding programs Sept. 30.

Dr. Jack St. Clair, Cherry director, said this week that a "plan of correction" had been completed and approved by CMS in Atlanta. Mid-week he said he was anticipating a state visit to rule on the plan.

The survey team arrived Friday around 9:30 a.m., St. Clair said, and left at 5 p.m.

"They are recommending that the immediate jeopardy be lifted, so we're out from under the recertification issue," he said.

The inspectors' recommendation means the hospital is no longer under threat of losing its certification to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients, officials said.

St. Clair had stated earlier that Cherry receives an estimated $700,000 a month in Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, so the hospital stood to take quite a hit if the funding was cut.

"The staff of Cherry Hospital worked diligently to correct the deficiencies noted by CMS, and we remain committed to providing the finest mental health care to the people we serve here in the eastern region of the state," he said.