Southwest Healthcare Reaches Deal With CMS To Avert Funding Cutoff
On Monday, Southwest Healthcare System officials announced that they have reached an agreement with federal regulators allowing them to continue receiving Medicare funding past June 1, the Los Angeles Times reports (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 5/18).
On April 15, CMS officials announced plans to cease Medicare reimbursements on June 1 to Southwest's Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta and Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar. During an inspection in January, the agency identified nine violations of the government's 23 conditions of participation in Medicare and Medicaid.
Medicare and Medicaid payments make up about 40% of the hospital system's revenue (California Healthline, 4/28).
According to CMS official Steven Chickering, the agreement requires Southwest to hire an independent team of experts to evaluate the hospital system and report on the hospitals' problems in July. The team then will develop an action plan detailing specific steps Southwest needs to take to meet federal standards (Hill/Horseman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/17).
If federal regulators approve the plan, Southwest has one year to implement the proposed improvements (Los Angeles Times, 5/18). An inspection will be conducted at the hospitals next year to ensure that Southwest's patient care problems have been addressed.
It is unclear how the new deal with CMS will affect the state's plan to terminate Southwest's operating license.
Last week, the California Department of Public Health filed a termination notice that formally launches a nine-step process to revoke the license.
Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director of the state Center for Health Care Quality, said state officials and Southwest are in discussions but declined to elaborate (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/17).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.