Local News

Cherry Hospital won't lose federal funding

Posted May 27, 2010 1:17 p.m. EDT

— Cherry Hospital is no long in jeopardy of losing federal funding to treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid, the Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday.

The hospital stood to lose an estimated $800,000 following the incident last month in which a mental health technician dragged a 22-year-old male patient and covered his face with a pillow to keep him from spitting while staff tried to restrain him.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which oversees the government insurance programs, found the hospital "failed to provide care in a safe setting by failing to investigate the allegation of patient abuse in a timely manner" by allowing the same staff member to continue caring for the patient for 19 days after the allegation was reported.

Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler has said all employees who work at the Goldsboro facility will undergo intensive retraining that involves a list of prohibited actions that result in immediate termination.

The federal agency revoked Cherry Hospital's certification in 2008, when a 50-year-old patient died after staff left him sitting unattended in a chair for nearly 24 hours.

The hospital lost an estimated $8 million to $10 million in federal funding as a result.