The much-awaited results of the final resurvey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid on the Commonwealth Health Center have yet to be officially released, according to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.
Corporation board chair Joaquin Torres confirmed with Saipan Tribune yesterday that the results, which will decide the fate of the hospital’s condition of participation with CMS, have yet to be issued, most likely due to the impact of the recent federal government shutdown that halted many of the national agencies’ projects and undertakings.
“We’re still waiting for that final [resurvey] result and we’re expecting them to be issued out very soon,” he told Saipan Tribune, expressing optimism that the decision will be favorable for the hospital.
CHC was earlier cited with numerous deficiencies in its operation, threatening the facility’s Medicare certification.
To rectify these citations, a corrective action plan was developed and submitted to CMS. A federal team recently checked the hospital to see if the corrective actions have been put in place. The results of that visit will decide whether the hospital will continue to be certified by Medicare.
Torres emphasized that the hospital’s condition of participation with Medicare remains in effect until CMS reaches a decision.
“Once we receive the final document [from CMS], our next focus is full compliance,” he said.
He admitted that they initially expected the results to come out 10 days after the federal government shutdown was resolved but that did not happen.
The five-member CMS team arrived unannounced on Sept. 9 for its resurvey of the facility. Unlike the survey conducted in September 2012, the team did not raise any major concerns or deficiencies since the first day of their weeklong inspection.
CHC was sanctioned with three immediate jeopardy statuses in the September 2012 survey due to serious deficiencies uncovered in just the first two days of the inspection.
“It looks like that we’re still OK although I am pretty sure that something still needs to be corrected. I have no reason to think that we will be in any trouble again because we maintained our focus in rectifying all the deficiencies and concerns they raised,” Torres said yesterday.
CHC receives about $22 million in yearly reimbursements from Medicaid and Medicare. CHC stands to lose this huge federal assistance without the certification for continued participation.
Meantime, Torres was re-elected to the corporation board’s chairmanship at their last meeting after he garnered the full support of his colleagues.
He will be joined in the board’s top ranks by Pete Dela Cruz, who was chosen as the body’s vice chairman.
Torres and Dela Cruz have both been serving as board chairman and vice chairman since the corporation’s inception in October 2011.
Torres said that this fiscal year, the corporation’s top priority will be on full compliance with all federal standards and requirements, while the hospital’s long-term sustainability will be the highest priority in fiscal year 2015.