UCI Medical Center Passes CMS Review
A CMS inspection of the University of California-Irvine Medical Center in December found undisclosed deficiencies, but the hospital will remain eligible to participate in Medicare, according to letters CMS released Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
A week-long review of UCIMC -- prompted by problems in the hospital's liver transplant program -- found some problems in the kidney transplant program, among other deficiencies. Those problems will not be disclosed until UCI officials have a chance to address them. The hospital must submit a corrective action plan for the kidney transplant program within two weeks, according to CMS.
Steve Chickering, a regional official with CMS, said there are "still some issues that need to be addressed" at UCIMC, but the problems "are not to the degree that the entire system is broken" (Berthelsen/Yoshino, Los Angeles Times, 1/21).
The UCIMC kidney transplant program accepted 8.7% of the kidney offers for its patients between July 2000 and June 2005, compared to median annual acceptance rates nationwide during that time period of 25.9% to 31.2%, according to a review by the Los Angeles Times.
The Times review of data from the transplant program found problems "similar to those that forced the closure of the hospital's liver transplant program." UCI had a liver acceptance rate of 8.7%, lower than the national median rate of about 32%.
According to the Times, data indicate that kidneys rejected by UCIMC later were found acceptable by other transplant facilities, and UCIMC patients "would have had a far greater chance of receiving a transplant" at another hospital.
Of patients placed on the kidney transplant waiting list between 1999 and 2001, 16.5% received a transplant within three years, less than half the national rate, according to data (Ornstein et al., Los Angeles Times, 1/24).
In related news, UCI lawyer Byron Beam said the hospital is trying to resolve 29 lawsuits related to a fertility scandal, after officials this week acknowledged that the hospital did not contact at least 20 couples whose eggs and embryos might have been stolen and implanted in other women.
Lawyers from both sides met in Superior Court on Friday to discuss a resolution.
UC Chancellor Michael Drake also said last week that a task force investigating the hospital's liver transplant program will release its report soon (Los Angeles Times, 1/21).