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Saturday, April 19, 2014

HHS backs CHC submission to Medicare

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed plans to deploy a 10-member team of medical professionals to the Commonwealth Health Center to help the islands’ public hospital comply with the requirements of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In an email to corporation officials, HHS official Bradley Wolters said his office has written to CMS to supplement CHC’s submission on what it is doing to remedy the two immediate jeopardy statuses slapped on the hospital in September.

“I wanted to…let you know that a letter was just transmitted to CMS informing that the U.S. Department of Public Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Department of the Interior, is planning on deploying a 10-member team of the Commissioned Corps to support the [Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.] in the near future,” Wolters told corporation officials.

According to Wolters, the letter is intended to supplement the letters and documentation that the corporation transmitted to CMS Region IX office. The HHS letter was addressed to CMS officials Rufus Arther and Karen Fuller.

CMS earlier threatened to revoke CHC’s participation in the Mediare program if it doesn’t fix the problems identified by a visiting team in September.

Wolters, in the same letter to CMS, stated that the corporation has accomplished a lot in the last week to rectify the deficiencies identified in the CMS survey.

The corporation was given only until Nov. 19 to submit credible evidence of resolving the two remaining immediate jeopardy statuses: the Condition of Participation for Laboratory Services and Condition of Participation for Environment.

Arther, who is the CMS Division of Survey and Certification manager, earlier provided CEO Juan Babauta with a checklist of requirements that the hospital must accomplish on time.

For the immediate jeopardy status on laboratory services, CMS wants six convincing proofs that the concern has really been addressed. This status was slapped was due to failure to provide critical serum blood levels/laboratory tests including glucose, and failure to provide diagnostic tissue specimen processing (collection, preservation, transportation, receipt, and reporting).

CMS also requires six convincing documents for the immediate jeopardy status for the environment, which was slapped due to failure to maintain patient care supplies and equipment to ensure an acceptable level of safety and quality.

Submitted docs

Babauta confirmed with Saipan Tribune that all documents required by CMS were transmitted last Monday.

In his six-page letter to Arther dated Nov. 19, Babauta attached 20 documents that included payment made to Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, a copy of the contract between CHCC and Siemens; and a copy of the contract between CHCC and Diagnostic Laboratory Services.

By submitting all these documents, Babauta said the corporation is hoping that the efforts made to remove threats to patients and correct noncompliance with the CMS’ conditions of participation would abate the two remaining immediate jeopardizes.

The corporation was originally slapped with three immediate jeopardy statuses in September but one was recently marked “abated” by CMS after all requirements were met. This pertains to the defibrillators in the key units of the hospital.

Babauta said that, as of yesterday, the corporation has yet to receive a response from CMS.

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