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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Board: Lab certification a 'confidence booster' for CHC
»CMS: Repeat deficiencies would be basis for immediate sanctions

The latest decision by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reaffirm the certificate of the public hospital’s laboratory department is a “confidence booster” not only to the organization’s staff and personnel but also to the very people it serves on the island, according to Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board chair Joaquin Torres yesterday.

He said the board has been upbeat on the issue and in every step of the process to full compliance since Day 1.

“CMS issues are on top of the board’s priority. Hearing the latest decision from CMS is a welcome news for all of us. It’s good to see all efforts have paid off. Definitely, this is a confidence booster not only to our staff but to our people who own this public hospital,” Torres told Saipan Tribune.

He assured all stakeholders of the corporation’s continued commitment to deliver quality care.

The hospital lab unit was sanctioned in 2012 for failing to adhere to standards. Last month, CMS did a follow-up survey at the unit and its latest decision was based on the results of that visit.

CMS’ latest decision was announced by Karen Fuller, the state oversight and CLIA branch manager under the CMS’ Division of Survey and Certification.

While Fuller states that the federal agency has rescinded or cancelled the sanctions it issued in 2012, she, however, warned the corporation of immediate sanctions once deficiencies are found reoccurring.

“We caution the laboratory to maintain compliance with the CLIA requirements for successful participation testing. Any future repeat deficiencies would be a basis for immediate sanction action to limit, suspend, or revoke the laboratory’s CLIA certificate,” Fuller said in her letter to the corporation.

Fuller’s letter also pointed out that there remains “standard-level deficiencies” they identified during last month’s resurvey. She gave the corporation 10 days to report to CMS the plan of corrections for these deficiencies.

CHCC board chair Torres disclosed that these “standard-level deficiencies” have already been rectified and addressed. He described the items as “minor stuff” and have been resolved.

“The management is now putting together the report that indicated the actions taken for these items and the board is confident that we can turn it in within the allowed timeframe,” he told Saipan Tribune.

According to Torres, “being vigilant and committed to resolve problems” are key to getting the desired results for the hospital.

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