The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave a high rating to the performance of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.'s new dialysis center, based on the certification the federal agency recently gave the corporation.
Sherleen M. Osman, MD, medical director for the public hospital's renal section, disclosed to Saipan Tribune that the unit's score considerably improved this year, from 18 points in 2010 to an overwhelming 30 points this year.
“The score given by Medicare for our performance this year is 30 out of 30 [points]. The certificate speaks for itself,” Osman said.
She said the satisfying result from Medicare was achieved despite some challenges in their operation.
Saipan Tribune obtained a copy of the Medicare certification indicating that the dialysis unit received 15 points for anemia management and 15 points for dialysis adequacy.
The purpose of the incentive program is to improve patient care by setting performance standards for quality of care. Facilities failing to meet these standards may be subject to a payment reduction of up to 2 percent.
“Your facility's total performance score is 30 points, out of a total of 30 possible points. Your facility will not incur a payment reduction as a result of your ESRD QIP total performance in [program year] 2013,” states the Medicare certification.
Every year, CHC receives $8 million to $10 million in reimbursement from Medicare.
The dialysis center celebrated its first anniversary on Wednesday, during which unit staff and corporation officials gathered for a simple celebration.
Osman, along with her unit's staff, was presented with a plaque of recognition by corporation CEO Juan N. Babauta.
Osman told Saipan Tribune that the unit was already among the best facilities in the Pacific when she opened it in September 2011. She assured that the unit is functioning well and the quality of care remains high.
“Although we have had a lot of staff loss, we are very focused and constantly strive to improve through education and staff training of old and new staff, so the impact was minimal,” she said.
In July this year, the dialysis center got 27 brand new chairs to replace the unit's 19 dilapidated chairs. These were procured using hospital funds from revenue and collections. The especially designed chairs are equipped with a side table, push bar, locking caster, BMI calculator, and stretcher lift, among other features.
There are a total of 27 dialysis stations at the center and can treat patients requiring both acute and chronic hemodialysis.
Saipan Tribune learned that the center has about 102 patients at present, about 15 percent of them mostly non-U.S. citizens who have no insurance coverage and are being publicly subsidized.
On a yearly basis, the hospital spends from $1.2 million to $1.5 million for the treatment of these non-insured dialysis patients, excluding their medicines.