State News

Fayetteville hospital won't lose federal funding

Posted January 19, 2012

— 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.

Cape Fear Valley Medical Center Fayetteville hospital won't lose federal funding

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.

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  • kermit60 Jan 23, 2012

    There has to be a better soultion. They got away with these infractions (and others) without any punishment from the regulating authority. Then again, if the funding was pulled, where would thousands of Medi-Caid/Medi-Care patients go? There isn't another hospital within a reasonable distance that could take these patients on. But then again free care is why many of these patients are there in the first place presenting with minor problems and overcrowding the ER when they could go to a regular doctor. Hey but they don't care because they are not paying for it. The only thing most of them do is complain about the care. The people who really should be complaining are the ones who pay for their care and medical insurance.

  • soyousay Jan 20, 2012

    Every hospital that I know of (and I do know of many) manages to slide past this nonsense. Its a joke, and nothing will ever change.

  • Sherlock Jan 20, 2012

    When will we learn that Cape Fear is to big and powerful to lose anything, it weill always go to th ewire and the government will back down, the government does not fight with corporations like this, they only go after the little man, us... If you look back you will find that the government has NEVER really gone pass the wire. Cape Fear is just that they put fear in the government.