Baylor St. Luke's ordered to submit correction plan or risk losing Medicare funding

State regulators have ordered Houston-based Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center to address patient safety and care quality issues or risk losing Medicare funding, according to letter cited by the Houston Chronicle.

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has given the hospital 10 days to submit a detailed correction plan to address several violations regulators found, or risk losing Medicare funding, according to the letter sent April 30. 

Doug Lawson, PhD, St. Luke’s president, told the Houston Chronicle he is positive that the hospital will not lose federal funding.

"Clearly, this is a very significant situation that we take with the utmost seriousness," he said May 1. "We have already made significant improvements across the hospital, and we are confident remaining findings will be immediately addressed."

The issues at St. Luke's came up during an April investigation by state and federal regulators, who said they found violations related to infection control, quality assurance, patient rights, food services and St. Luke's physical environment and board oversight, according to the Houston Chronicle.

St. Luke's has had its hands full this year and in 2018 amid probes that have cited issues at the hospital.

CMS cut off funding for the hospital's heart transplant program last year after a Houston Chronicle and ProPublica investigation found a large number of patient deaths and unusual surgical complications after heart transplants in recent years. 

The hospital saw several leaders depart after the investigation.

In January, the hospital made three executive appointments after the resignations of St. Luke's President Gay Nord, Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Nitschmann, MSN, RN, and Senior Vice President of Operations David Berger, MD.

In February, the hospital pledged reforms after after a CMS inspection revealed staff made more than 100 mistakes in labeling blood over a four-month period.

The April inspection was reportedly prompted by these findings.

 

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