01/22/10 — Cherry Hospital passes surprise inspection with no deficiencies

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Cherry Hospital passes surprise inspection with no deficiencies

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 22, 2010 1:46 PM

Two Cherry Hospital administrators have left their positions -- one to pursue another job opportunity locally -- and a recent state survey at the hospital produced a "clean bill of health," the director said.

Reports surfaced this week that Dr. Kimberly Johnson, clinical director, left Jan. 22. Hospital officials would not comment on the personnel matter.

The other departure was Bonnie Gray, nursing director there since October 2007.

Ms. Gray has taken a position on the nursing faculty at Wayne Community College, starting Jan. 4. She said she is teaching first-year associate degree RN students.

"Nothing was wrong; everything was fine," she said of her former position. "This was just a golden opportunity for me at this point in my career. I was not asked to leave, I was not told to leave.

"This opportunity came available, and it's just a good opportunity for me at this point."

The nursing instructor said she is raising two grandchildren and the new position affords her the chance to spend more time with them.

She is also pleased to be in a position to teach nursing students, she said.

"I'm continuing to give back through what I will do with the students," she said. "I'm very blessed to have this opportunity."

Both Dr. Johnson and Ms. Gray were at Cherry during a tumultuous time, when the hospital struggled to regain federal funding after certification had been pulled.

But Ms. Gray said the controversial situation had "nothing to do with this decision."

"I'm not here because of anything at Cherry," she said. "This is just a good time for me to be doing this. I didn't leave there under bad circumstances. Cherry is doing good.

"In fact, they had a surprise state survey last week. They came through with flying colors and no deficiencies."

Gray said she had not spoken with Dr. Johnson and could not comment on that situation, but had high praise for Philip Cook, Cherry director.

Cook attributed some of the administrative changes to hospital efforts to move forward.

"People make decisions and choices, and we're not able to comment," he said. "In any hospital, change takes places and that's just part of what we're dealing with ... and where we're continuing to develop our hospital."

As for the recent survey, Cook said it is typical for state surveyors to "pop in" from time to time. Typically, he noted, such a visit can be prompted by a number of things, but most likely by a concern or complaint about the hospital's performance.

"They don't specify what the complaint is or who made the complaint," he said. "They come in and do a survey, asking for data. We're completely in the dark as to what the survey is."

A representative from the Raleigh office of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS, based in Atlanta, conducted the survey, Cook said.

"At the end of the day and a half, (she) reported that she had no deficiencies to report and that she was actually very impressed with the work that she saw with more of our difficult patients," he said. "We got a clean bill of health. It was a very straightforward process."

The director said he was grateful for the good report, proving that "every survey here doesn't always end in a bad outcome."

"Those are the source of things in the past -- once they're here and start looking for things, (if they find something) it leads to other things," he said. "We feel pleased that not only was she satisfied but that she was very positive about the experience here."

Cook also credited hospital employees with being part of the efforts to make improvements and developments as the hospital continues to grow.

"I'm really very proud of our staff, both on the front line who clearly were found to be doing a good job providing wonderful care to those in need, and also to our management team, who continue to help the hospital stabilize and improve," he said.