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Hospital Gets OK on Plan to Keep Gov't Insurance Programs

If Franklin County Regional Medical Center hasn't implemented the plan, it could lose its ability to get Medicaid and Medicare treatments reimbursed.

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LOUISBURG, N.C. — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services accepted a corrective plan of action Wednesday from Franklin County's only hospital to improve its quality of health care.

The federal agency notified Franklin Regional Medical Center earlier this month that it has until March 30 to fix problems with its governance, medical staff, nursing services and laboratory services to remain eligible to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Failure to do so would mean the hospital would lose its ability to bill the two government insurance programs for caring for elderly and poor patients.

The hospital said in a statement Wednesday afternoon it has already taken steps to implement the plan, which includes policy and procedure revision, staff and physician education and process redesign.

"Our physicians and medical staff are committed to providing top-notch service to the residents of Franklin County,” Mike McNair, interim chief executive officer for the hospital, said in a written statement. "We’re pleased with the decision by CMS to accept our plan of action, and we look forward to continuing to deliver quality care to FRMC patients."

Beyond the general areas of concern, neither CMS nor Franklin Regional will say what the problems are.

CMS will make another unannounced visit to the hospital before the March 30 deadline to ensure it's implementing and complying with the plan. If so, it won't affect coverage of those on either insurance program.

If the hospital loses its ability to receive the government reimbursements, it could have an impact on a potential application to move the hospital from Louisburg to a larger facililty in Youngsville, said Lee Hoffman, Chief of the Certificate of Need (CON) Section with the North Carolina Division of Facility Services.

It will decide whether the facility can move and is expected to make its decision by April 28.

"Certainly, they (the hospital) are failing on a major criteria of the CON application," said Louisburg Town Councilman Boyd Sturges, an outspoken critic of the move because it would decentralize the hospital in the county.

"And I would think the CON people would have to look at that. I think they would have to look at that to their detriment," he said.