Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. CEO Juan N. Babauta said the organization has already spent $600,000 to correct the immediate jeopardy citations slapped by the federal government on the Commonwealth Health Center.
Babauta reported to Gov. Benigno R. Fitial on Tuesday that this amount needed to rectify the identified deficiencies at the public hospital is only at the minimum.
“This has been the biggest challenge ever faced by [the corporation] so far. However, the team that worked so hard in addressing these deficiencies is pleased to inform you that nearly all have been addressed except for the procurement of a new CT scan in Radiology. It is estimated that the cost associated in correcting all three immediate jeopardy citations have cost the corporation in excess of $600,000 thus far and mounting,” stated Babauta in his report to the governor.
A Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services team did a survey visit at the hospital early last month. That resulted in the corporation being slapped with immediate jeopardy status for the following deficiencies: (1) lack of defibrillators in critical units of the hospital; (2) deficiencies in critical supplies in the laboratory unit, lack of specimen testing, tracking and accountability; (3) a malfunctioning CT scan and a broken portable x-ray unit.
“When the immediate jeopardy citations were issued within days of each other, [the corporation] was required to put in place an immediate 'Plan of Corrections' and to be completed within 24 days from the date each citation was issued. Key administrative staff at CHC, including the board chairman [Joaquin Torres] worked day and night to address all three of the citations,” Babauta said.
Babauta provided the governor with details of the correction action plan that was submitted to the CMMS.
According to Babauta, the corporation expects to hear from CMMS in the next two weeks on the status of the citations.
Just days after the CMMS citations, the corporation bought four new defibrillators for the operating room, emergency room, intensive care unit, and surgery department.
At present, Babauta said, the corporation is working with a vendor, Oka Services Inc., for the purchase of a new CT scan and had approved some $300,000 for the new unit to be paid on an installment basis.
CHCC, according to the CEO, will continue to provide other evidence of completion or steps taken to correct any issues such as certification of equipment being repaired or replaced and development of policies and procedures for tracking, training, and accounting for all equipment in radiology and dietary units (dishwasher, garbage disposal, etc.), the purchase of a fluoroscope, which provide for real time imaging during surgery, chiller, walk-in freezer, the nonfunctioning elevators, and the like.
The immediate jeopardy indicates that the provider's noncompliance with one or more requirements of participation in the Medicare and Medicaid program has or is “likely to cause serious injury, harm, impairment or death.”