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Patient death could cost Fayetteville hospital its Medicare funding

Posted November 3, 2011

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— A Fayetteville hospital could lose its Medicare funding after a patient died when security guards physically restrained him.

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has notified Cape Fear Valley Medical Center that it is in "immediate jeopardy" of losing funding for patients, effective Nov. 13, unless issues found during a recent hospital visit are not addressed.

CMS uses that term to indicate that a problem it has found compromises patients' health or safety.

The matter stems from the April 17 death of a 28-year-old schizophrenic patient who, according to a wrongful death lawsuit, became unresponsive after one guard put him in a choke hold and three other guards got on top of him.

In a letter to Cape Fear's chief executive officer, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said the guards were not trained in "therapeutic physical holds” and were "without adequate nursing supervision during the restraint to ensure the patient's safety."

Fayetteville hospital could lose Medicare funding Fayetteville hospital could lose Medicare funding

If the hospital were to lose its provider service, the Medicare program would not reimburse the hospital for services provided on or after Nov. 13 and would only continue paying for patients admitted prior to the date for 30 days thereafter.

Vincent Benbenek, vice president of marketing and outreach at Cape Fear Valley Heath System, said in a statement that it is committed to the safety of all patients and that the CMS survey only focuses on the care of hostile and combative mentally ill patients.

"We are confident that we have the policies, procedures and staff in place to keep our patients and employees safe, and to deliver a high level of care," he said.

"We are just as confident that the state survey agency will agree when they complete their full survey. We continue to validate our care processes, making sure our policies and processes are aligned with best practice," Benbenek continued.

35 Comments

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  • kermit60 Nov 4, 2011

    It is unfortunate that this happened. However weather intentional or accidental someone needs to be held accountable. If the security guards went beyond their training then criminal charges should be considered. This would not be tolerated in our community if it were a ploice officer, school teacher, bouncer at a bar so this incident should not be swept away as another accident.

  • FromClayton Nov 4, 2011

    all i know is I have seen this in action and I do not want to work with psych patience. Therefore I will restain from all judgement in these situations. Praying for the people who deal with this every day. god bless them.

  • rnmedic Nov 4, 2011

    Sorry, the end of my comment was: because the families can't handle them any more and need help. Most of them are afraid of their loved one and have no idea how to handle it. If he or she was so easy to talk down or therapeutically hold, they would take care of them at home. Here again, I know, I deal with it every day. I hate that this happened to anyone. It's a tragedy for all involved.

  • KiaMom Nov 4, 2011

    Well, this one incident is going to cost so many employees to lose their jobs. You best believe that if Cape Fear loses that funding, it will affect thousands of people as well as employees and their families. I see so much attitude towards Cape Fear throughout this thread. This a huge deal with patient care. if Cape Fear loses their funding guess where all those patients that are still getting medicaid/Medicare are going to go....HELLO to another city which is hour or two from where they live..THIS IS A BIG DEAL AND IS GOING TO AFFECT ALOT OF PEOPLE..who is to say that the patient didn't get violent???

  • rnmedic Nov 4, 2011

    fugitiveguysurfacesagain: You are exactly right. I've been working in healthcare for over 23 years now with most of it being in the Emergency Dept. I too wish that those making these outlandish "therapeutic holds" would have to be the ones dealing with a psychiatric patient when they are out of control. I don't agree with killing someone and don't think the officers meant to have that happen. I mean..does anyone really think it was intentional? The great majority of people who go into medicine and public service do so because they care and want to help not because they want to kill people. Oh, and I am quite justified in saying these things as I am also the parent of a child with severe behavioral/psychiatric problems. I have dealt with psychiatric breaks for the last 15 years at home. These people become extremely violent and dangerous to anyone around them. "Talking them down" is impossible when they are out of control. Most of the time the reason that they are in the hospital is bec

  • fayncmike Nov 4, 2011

    "
    Sometimes there are no magic words to make any bad situation all better.
    thepeopleschamp"

    There are never any magic words to make any bad situation all better. That's why proper training is so important.

  • thepeopleschamp Nov 4, 2011

    "Or one well trained one to talk them down. Hello! we no longer treat the mentally ill like wild animals. We stopped that around 1920. Well in enlightened places anyway." fayncmike

    Sometimes there are no magic words to make any bad situation all better.

  • godukebasketball Nov 3, 2011

    "The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has notified Cape Fear Valley Medical Center that it is in "immediate jeopardy" of losing funding for patients, effective Nov. 13, unless issues found during a recent hospital visit are not addressed."

    So...if Cape Fear does address these issues...they will lose funding?

  • Diabolical Nov 3, 2011

    They should lose funding for Medicare & Medicaid Services

    They wrote her off when she asked for help. Medicare patient. The way they treated my niece there was like she was Hannibal lector during transport to another hospital and tormenting her with that image of making her walk to an officer car like she's a hardcore criminal with people staring at her. Appalling. All I got to say.

    And those nurses, head nurse and cna's the attitudes of her asking for help and not receiving it, was pathetic. Just write her off, she's a lost cause. That hospital can sink for all I care. You don't boss Autistic children, you have to have patience and you work with them. Autistic children don't know any better, but you do...

    That hospital needs a 180 on a new nurse staff and doctor staff. Some of those nurses were sweet and love their job. You brutes, need to take notes on patient care and leave your attitudes at home.

    Very disappointed in her treatment there.

  • fayncmike Nov 3, 2011

    "I am around special olympians often. kindergarten through full grown adults 50 years old. Some of the 20 somes with behavior iissues when stressed can get way out there and it may take 3-4 full grown aduls to hold down.
    mikeyj"

    Or one well trained one to talk them down. Hello! we no longer treat the mentally ill like wild animals. We stopped that around 1920. Well in enlightened places anyway.

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