Local News

DHHS cited for Central Regional Hospital merger delays

Posted October 13, 2008 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2008 7:56 p.m. EDT

— The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has cited the state's new Central Regional Hospital in Butner for failing to integrate the operations of Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh.

The CMS findings stipulate that the two hospitals must operate as a single facility under one management structure, the state Department of Health and Human Services said Monday in a news release.

In a letter to DHHS, the federal agency found that during a Sept. 25 visit, Central Regional was out of compliance with federal conditions that the two hospitals have one organized and integrated medical staff operating under one set of rules, DHHS said.

The two hospitals were supposed to merge earlier this year when adult patients from Dorothea Dix in Raleigh were to move to the new $130 million state hospital. But the transfer has been delayed several times because of concerns that it is not safe for patients and employees.

About 170 patients were scheduled to move Oct. 1 but that was postponed indefinitely following a lawsuit from an advocacy group, Disability Rights North Carolina.

The group says Central Regional has also failed to meet state law that requires the hospital be certified by two accrediting agencies before Dix patients move. That has posed a problem for the state because one certifying group won't find the hospital in compliance until patients move.

The DHHS said in its news release that the CMS citation would not have come up had the two hospitals completed their merger in June.

On the same day as the federal survey team’s visit, the hospital consolidated administration of the two hospital's staffs, which DHHS said is noted in the federal report.

Neither the deficiencies cited nor Central Regional's plan of correction will affect the hospital’s ability to draw reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid for services, DHHS said, citing the federal report.

The CMS survey agency is required to conduct a full survey of Central Regional within 60 days of the September visit to evaluate actions taken to address the deficiencies found.