VENCOR: Signs Major Agreement with HHS to Improve Care
Vencor Inc. yesterday reached an "unprecedented" corporate integrity agreement with HHS that grants the federal government "unusual power" to monitor the quality of care at Vencor facilities and eventually may pave the way for the nursing home operator's release from bankruptcy protection, the Wall Street Journal reports (Adams, 8/9). Under the five-year agreement, Vencor -- one of the nation's largest nursing home chains -- will implement a "comprehensive internal quality improvement program" at corporate and regional levels as well as at individual facilities, and will engage a group of independent monitors selected by federal officials to review policies and procedures, as well as staffing and patient care data. Vencor also agreed to conduct annual compliance training for all employees; continue to operate an internal compliance hotline; improve its internal financial operations; and submit annual reports to the government detailing its compliance efforts (Office of Inspector General release, 8/8). Although federal investigations into charges of poor care and "billing abuses" at Vencor are ongoing, the Office of Inspector General said the deal "resolves in part" issues raised in those inquiries; Vencor, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September 1999, said it believes the agreement will be "part of an overall settlement" with the government and hopes to file a reorganization plan with the bankruptcy court soon (Wall Street Journal, 8/9). The deal will not take effect unless a bankruptcy court approves a settlement between Vencor and the government (OIG release, 8/8).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.