03/18/09 — O'Berry gets list of factors to correct

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O'Berry gets list of factors to correct

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on March 18, 2009 1:46 PM

Officials from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid completed their investigation at O'Berry Neuro-Medical Center Tuesday and have given the facility 30 days to correct its deficiencies.

The federal officials arrived at the agency Friday following the death of a female patient on March 11.

It is a death that state Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Brad Deen has referred to as "unusual," and one that was classified as "unexpected" in a report on the center's Web site.

An official report from CMS is expected within a week, but facility officials have already developed a plan of correction that was accepted by the CMS surveyors, according to facility director Dr. Frank Farrell. Surveyors will return in 30 days to determine if it has been sufficiently implemented, he added.

A statement released by state officials described the plan as including "closer supervision and increased monitoring of the residents in one of the 25 homes."

In that statement, state officials also said that CMS is expected to issue "a finding of a condition level deficiency, which means surveyors did not find conditions that place residents in immediate jeopardy of harm, but deficiencies must be corrected within 30 days or the facility could face the loss of its Medicare and Medicaid funding."

"It could imperil that federal funding if it's not corrected within 30 days," Deen said.

He did not know, though, how much money could be lost if that federal funding is pulled.

An April death at Cherry Hospital resulted in CMS placing the state psychiatric facility in immediate jeopardy in September and the loss of about $800,000 a month.

The O'Berry incident is still under investigation by the Medicaid Investigation United of the state Attorney General's Office. While it continues, four employees remain on paid investigatory leave.

Citing state and federal patient confidentiality laws, Deen declined to release any further information about the incident.