The Commonwealth Health Corp. finally received Tuesday a shipment of four new defibrillators for the CNMI's lone hospital, according to corporation CEO Juan N. Babauta.
Babauta also disclosed that a conference call with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is scheduled today to address the immediate jeopardy status slapped on the Commonwealth Health Center by a visiting Medicaid team last month.
The team-composed of Rufus Arther, Edgardo Japitana, Renie Soria, and Linda Brim-conducted the revisit survey of the hospital last month.
The hospital was first slapped with an immediate jeopardy status due to nonfunctioning defibrillators in key units. This was followed by two other major deficiencies found during the weeklong inspection.
A defibrillator is an electronic device that treats life-threatening heartbeat irregularities.
An immediate jeopardy indicates that a deficiency at the hospital has or is “likely to cause serious injury, harm, impairment or death.”
CHC has 23 days to rectify the deficiency or else Medicare funds will stop flowing to the hospital. CHC receives from $8 million to $10 million in Medicare reimbursement every year.
According to Babauta, the new defibrillators will be stationed at the emergency room, intensive care unit, surgery, and operating room, replacing the existing units that are more than 20 years old.
Babauta said they decided to replace all defibrillators in the facility to comply with Medicare concerns about ensuring “reliability and accessibility” of the units at all times.
He said the new defibrillators were bought using hospital revenue. Their acquisition was coordinated with Pacific Biomedical Services, Inc. It is estimated that each defibrillator costs around $12,000 to $15,000.
Upon receipt of the shipment on Tuesday, biomeds immediately did some initial checks. The units were later forwarded to the corporation's medical supply office for property tagging and to process completion of the order. Yesterday, biomeds trained hospital employees on how to use the new machines.
In the scheduled conference call with Medicare today, Babauta said the discussion will focus on the “immediate action plan” being enforced by the corporation to rectify all the deficiencies cited by the federal team.
He assured that Medicare receives daily updates on the corporation's plan of actions.
In order to lift the immediate jeopardy status, Medicare has to accept CHC's action plans. When asked as to when this would happen, Babauta said he cannot comment on the decision as it depends entirely on Medicare.