CMS Report Cites Problems at Sutter Hospital in Vallejo
Problems at Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo could have affected patient care, according to a CMS report released Wednesday, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports. According to the report, the medical center used unqualified technicians who were not supervised to administer anesthesia before at least 29 surgeries and did not keep adequate records. Steven Chickering, spokesperson for CMS, said the two-week federal investigation that led to the report was initiated after state investigators identified the problems during a routine inspection, the AP/News reports. The investigation found that at least one person might have been injured as a result of the problems, some of which dated from March. Investigators also cited five other cases in which inadequate records were kept and unsupervised delivery of anesthesia took place.
CMS on July 1 said that the medical center had two weeks to develop a plan to correct the procedural and record keeping problems or lose eligibility for federal funding, including Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Such funds total about $100 million per year and account for 70% of the hospital's annual budget. Chickering said, "Rather than wait until there were serious actual outcomes, where patients were harmed, we asked the hospital to respond quickly." Chickering added that CMS oversees 500 hospitals and only issues "immediate jeopardy" warnings five to seven times annually. Sutter Solano officials said Wednesday that they had met the July 13 deadline and no longer face a potential loss of funding. Hospital CEO Beverly Gilmore said that the problems were related to missing documentation and did not involve quality-of-care issues, the AP/News reports (Mesfin, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 7/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.