Federal, State Officials Investigate UCI Medical Center Programs
CMS and the Department of Health Services this week -- prompted by problems discovered in the hospital's liver transplant program -- began investigating whether other programs at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center meet federal requirements, the Los Angeles Times reports. The liver transplant program closed last month after losing federal certification.
Steve Chickering, a regional official for CMS, said the entire hospital will be investigated, including record-keeping, medical staff quality, the physical environment and pharmaceutical and surgical services.
If the hospital programs fail to meet federal standards, they could lose certification and eligibility to participate in Medicare.
DHS has sent nurses, a doctor, a dietician, a pharmacist and other health experts to aid the federal agency in the investigation.
The investigation likely will last at least a week, and a report is expected to be completed by early January, Chickering said.
In related news, on Wednesday, the family of a man who died while waiting for a liver transplant at UCIMC filed a wrongful death suit against the hospital, the UC Regents and the doctors overseeing the liver program at the time. The suit alleges that the hospital concealed problems within the program, and the patient would have sought treatment elsewhere had those problems been disclosed.
According to records released this week by the United Network for Organ Sharing, during the last month of the man's life, eight livers were rejected, including three that were rejected because no surgeon was available (Yoshino/Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times, 12/15).