10/09/07 — Cherry Hospital earns clear state review

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Cherry Hospital earns clear state review

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 9, 2007 1:46 PM

With Cherry Hospital no longer having to worry about having its certification as a Medicare and Medicaid provider being revoked, a survey team from the state Division of Health Service Regulation returned last week -- three days after the de-certification threat was lifted on Sept. 28.

The team was there to conduct a full four-day review of the hospital's entire operations.

It was, explained Jim Osberg, chief of state operated services for the Division of Mental Health, a routine survey following the "immediate jeopardy" status Cherry had been under.

The hospital was given that designation after teams from the Division of Health Services Regulations and the Joint Commission visited Cherry at the beginning of September, issuing at 52-page report detailing deficiencies in the area of patient care and safety.

That designation was lifted after the hospital completed a plan of correction, had it approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and was re-inspected.

Last week's survey, Osberg explained, was a more comprehensive review of all the hospital's operations.

"It's a very thorough process," he said.

And, he continued, while the formal report hasn't been filed yet, and isn't expected for another week or so, the preliminary results appear positive.

"I can't say with 100 percent assurance, but from what we were told, they did not have any great concerns," Osberg said.

Only one deficiency was noted during the exit conference -- the lack of pharmacy oversight of the dental clinical in ordering medication.

"That's a fairly easy fix," he said. "It's not unusual for a hospital to find one or two things to be out of compliance, particularly those that are relatively easy to respond to."

It is, he added, a credit to the hospital's staff that they have been able to fix the institution's problems and still pass a full review with almost flying colors.

"We think they did an outstanding job of correcting the situation," Osberg said. "Any hospital that has a full survey and finds only one deficiency has actually done an outstanding job."

In a written statement, Cherry Director Dr. Jack St. Clair said that he, too, was pleased with the results.

"I am proud of all the staff at Cherry Hospital," he said. "They demonstrated real teamwork and a positive approach to adversity. The challenge will be to build upon the accomplishments already made and continue to strive to improve the care and treatment provided to consumers of eastern North Carolina."