Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bleak Prognosis: Chickasha Hospital Could Lose Medicare Funding in November

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bleak Prognosis: Chickasha Hospital Could Lose Medicare Funding in November

Article excerpt

CHICKASHA - The state Department of Health has concluded that equipment deficiencies at Grady Memorial Hospital are severe enough to cost the rural health care provider its access to Medicare funding, records show.

"We are recommending termination within 90 days of the survey date," Administrative Programs Manager Terri Cook wrote after the Aug. 18 review. "We recommend that you notify your governing body and/or owners that termination of your Medicare agreement may occur Nov. 16."

Hospital CEO and President Kean Spellman said the board of trustees will not let that ultimatum come to pass, however. Trustees met Thursday to discuss necessary improvements to keep the 58-year- old hospital operational, a list of which must be submitted to the Health Department by Sept. 11, as well as financing longer-term solutions that will likely involve building a new facility.

"We're busy making a plan of corrections so that we won't experience any termination," he said. "But the major issue now is that, after looking at the scope of changes we're going to need to undertake to repair or remodel the operating room area, it's our belief that we think it's more prudent to look for a new construction solution."

The Health Department made an unannounced inspection of the hospital on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that administers the Medicare program and works with state governments to administer Medicaid. Immediately afterward, inspectors met with hospital officials to outline their findings. The hospital responded by shutting down its operating rooms.

In records released this week, the full extent of inspectors' concerns was revealed.

"Based on observations, interviews and document reviews, it was determined that the deficient practices found in the surgery department posed immediate jeopardy to the health and safety of patients and had the potential for harm, serious injury or death," they said. …

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