Hospital System To Lose Medicare Funding Over Patient Safety Concerns
On Thursday, CMS officials announced plans to terminate Southwest Healthcare System's Medicare reimbursements on June 1 because of serious patient safety issues, the Los Angeles Times reports (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 4/16).
The decision comes the same week that the California Department of Public Health levied $225,000 in fines against Southwest for patient safety violations. Officials said state and federal regulators acted independently.
Steven Chickering, who heads CMS' certification branch, said the decision to eliminate Medicare funding comes from a Jan. 19 inspection that found Southwest was not in compliance with nine requirements for Medicare participation. He said the agency has been working with Southwest for three years to address patient safety issues.
Southwest owns Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta and Inland Valley Regional Medical Center in Wildomar. About 40% of the hospital system's net patient revenue comes from Medicare, according to state records (Hines/Ghiotto, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/15).
Southwest has the ability to appeal the decision and is entitled to a hearing with a federal administrative law judge. If funding is terminated, the hospital can apply for reinstatement.
Hospital officials said they currently are in talks with federal regulators to avoid losing the funding (Los Angeles Times, 4/16).
However, CMS officials said Southwest would need to develop an aggressive plan of action to reverse the decision (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/15).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.