Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Rehabilitation Services: Struggling Rural Hospitals Try to Cope with Deficiencies

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Rehabilitation Services: Struggling Rural Hospitals Try to Cope with Deficiencies

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Grady Memorial Hospital's challenge to come up with the money to meet the federal government's facility standards is a too-common occurrence for rural health care, Oklahoma Hospital Association Vice President Andy Fosmire said.

Pushmataha Hospital in Antlers and Craig General Hospital in Vinita faced similar problems with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services inspections in 2013, which resulted in temporary closures of certain operations, according to the state Department of Health records.

The partial closure of Grady Memorial this week because of an inadequate air unit serving the operating room is potentially damaging enough to the local economy that Chickasha Mayor Hank Ross immediately called for an emergency public meeting to discuss financial rescue efforts. Early estimates by hospital officials are that it will cost at least $150,000 for the equipment, which doesn't address construction, facility disruptions and the loss of revenue from rescheduled surgeries.

The hospital announced the closure of its surgery center following preliminary results of a review by the state Department of Health on behalf of the CMS. That agency, which operates within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, administers the Medicare program and works with state governments to administer Medicaid. The CMS typically doesn't shut down hospitals. However, in extreme situations the agency will issue a notice of termination of federal Medicare funding, a death knell for most centers.

According to CMS records, 20 Oklahoma health care centers received notices of termination since the beginning of 2013, although none required a follow-through of the threat because their deficiencies were remedied, agency spokesman Bob Moos said. Some of those cases are still open.

The hospitals on the CMS list range from Integris Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City and Norman Regional Health System in Norman to Mercy Hospital in Healdton and Hillcrest Hospital in Claremore. …

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