Fayetteville hospital won't lose federal funding
Posted January 19, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A Fayetteville hospital was granted a last-minute reprieve Wednesday by federal regulators, who were set to cut off funding following two patient deaths.
Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services informed administrators at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center on Jan. 3 that federal support would be terminated at midnight Thursday over problems involving the hospital's telemetry unit, which is used for heart rate monitors – the facility's fifth violation since March.
CMS officials in Atlanta accepted documentation Thursday indicating numerous improvements have been made at the hospital following a string of negative reports.
The hospital said in a statement that it has agreed to look at all its policies and procedures "instead of simply rushing through another survey process."
It has also been working with a consultant to make improvements to its emergency department, which include placing another physician in the triage area for more timely screening exams and adding a clinical person in the waiting room to identify patients who might warrant a higher priority.
"We welcome this opportunity to work in partnership with CMS," the hospital's chief executive officer, Michael Nagowski, said in a statement. "We expect this collaboration with CMS will further enhance our operations and quality."
Hospital officials were not available for an interview Thursday.
Cape Fear Valley, which gets about $23 million a month in federal insurance reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid – about half of all its insurance reimbursements – is the sixth largest hospital in North Carolina.
The hospital was also at risk of losing its funding in November after a lawsuit that prompted the state to investigate the April death of a schizophrenic patient whose mother claims he died when security workers put him in a chokehold.
In November, a patient died on his way home from the hospital after, his family said, he was discharged against his will.
The latest problems involving the telemetry equipment were discovered while federal officials were looking into the deaths.