Local News

Federal team evaluating Central Regional

Posted December 12, 2008 11:50 a.m. EST
Updated December 12, 2008 7:07 p.m. EST

— Regulators were back at Central Regional Hospital Friday to make a final determination of whether the facility will lose its ability to bill the federal government for treating patients on Medicare and Medicaid.

The new state psychiatric facility submitted a corrective action plan last week to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to address a number of problems at the facility.

The deadline is Sunday, and Division of Mental Health officials say a decision could come as early as Monday.

According to a report released earlier this month, Central Regional was placed in immediate jeopardy of losing the funding, in part, for failing to provide care in a safe environment and for failing to prevent patient abuse and neglect.

CMS accepted the hospital's plan of correction, and examiners were evaluating Friday whether that plan is actually being implemented. If not, the hospital will likely lose its certification to be reimbursed for the federal insurance programs.

That could mean the Department of Health and Human Services reallocating more than $800,000 monthly from its budget to treat Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The state agency is already spending approximately that much a month to treat patients at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, which lost federal funding in September for issues brought to light after a patient's death in April.

DHHS officials have not said how much it would cost to continue treating those patients at Central Regional but said it would likely cost more than Cherry Hospital. Central Regional has two facilities – one in Butner and the other in Raleigh at what used to be Dorothea Dix Hospital.