Baylor St. Luke's vows to correct deficiencies identified in CMS report

Houston-based Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is pledging to address patient safety and care quality issues identified by federal regulators.

In an open letter posted on the hospital website, President Doug Lawson, PhD, acknowledged that a recent full-scale review of the hospital's operations by CMS found violations and said the hospital continues to work hard to improve.

"The [CMS survey] results point to remaining housekeeping, maintenance and patient safety issues that in no way meet our standards, expectations or commitments to our community," he wrote. "We are taking seriously every opportunity for improvement, and we are addressing the findings with urgency. We are confident that the next review will reflect our commitments and accomplishments."

The issues at St. Luke's came up during an April investigation, which 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.

After the survey, regulators told St. Luke's to submit a detailed correction plan to address violations or risk losing Medicare funding.

Dr. Lawson said the deficiencies identified by regulators "did not occur overnight," and were not the result of any one factor. He said St. Luke's already has begun to correct issues through its internal quality program.

"We appreciate the expertise, thoroughness and professionalism of the CMS survey team during the recent review and look forward to incorporating their insights into additional steps Baylor St. Luke's will take to ensure it will meet all requirements by CMS," wrote Dr. Lawson. "Many significant improvements already have been completed across the hospital, [and] we are confident remaining findings will be implemented in the coming weeks."

St. Luke's has had its hands full 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, and new leadership began coming into place in mid-January.

Dr. Lawson said while it is a "challenging time" for St. Luke's, the hospital continues to implement improvements and is confident the efforts will lead to full compliance with CMS requirements.

Read the hospital's full plan of correction here and the CMS survey results here.


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