Patient death could cost Fayetteville hospital its Medicare funding
Posted November 3, 2011
Fayetteville, N.C. — 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."
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.