King/Drew Medical Center Fails CMS Inspection
CMS on Friday notified administrators of Martin Luther King/Drew University Medical Center in south Los Angeles that the facility failed an unannounced inspection and would lose eligibility to participate in Medicare and Medi-Cal, the Los Angeles Times reports. The hospital would lose about $200 million -- half of its budget -- in federal funding annually.
CMS on three other occasions had threatened to pull federal funding from King/Drew, and a series of media reports highlighted problems at the facility.
CMS regulators inspected the hospital from July 31 to Aug. 10 and found that the hospital was not in compliance with nine of the agency's 23 requirements to participate in Medicare and Medi-Cal:
- Hospital governance;
- Infection control;
- Patients' rights
- Physical plant;
- Rehabilitation services; and
- Surgical services.
King/Drew in 2005 treated 11,000 inpatients and 167,000 outpatients. The hospital is the second-smallest of Los Angeles County's four general hospitals with 252 beds.
The Times reports that the loss of federal funding likely will move the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to:
- Close the hospital;
- Convert it to an outpatient clinic; or
- Transfer the facility to another organization to operate it as a hospital.
Thomas Garthwaite, former director of the county Department of Health Services, on Friday said that Catholic Healthcare West had expressed interest in assuming control of the facility.
The CMS letter stated, "Termination of the Medicare provider agreement is final."
However, CMS Regional Administrator Jeff Flick said federal funding might be restored if the county transferred administration of the hospital to another entity or sold it (Ornstein/Weber, Los Angeles Times, 9/23).
Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.) said CMS Administrator Mark McClellan on Friday called her to inform her of the inspection results and said there was still some "wiggle room" for King/Drew. She said, "Dr. McClellan is still open to any recommendations or suggestions."
Millender-McDonald on Monday will hold a community meeting at the hospital to discuss the situation.
County supervisors on Monday will hold a private emergency meeting on King/Drew (Weber/Schoch, Los Angeles Times, 9/24).