Dana-Farber's Medicare funding at risk due to overreliance on Brigham and Women's

Ayla Ellison (Twitter) - Print  | 

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is at risk of losing its Medicare contract following a CMS survey that found deficiencies related to the Boston-based cancer hospital's oversight of its inpatient unit.

At the direction of CMS, the Massachusetts Department of Health surveyed Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Aug. 4. The survey revealed the hospital "was not in substantial compliance" with six Medicare rules, according to a letter CMS sent to Dana-Farber in August and recently obtained by Axios.

In a statement to Becker's Hospital Review, Dana-Farber said most of the issues CMS identified were related to the "oversight and administration of care" provided in its 30-bed inpatient unit. Although Dana-Farber and Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital are independent organizations, Dana-Farber's inpatient unit is housed in Brigham and Women's. According to CMS, Dana-Farber violated Medicare rules by relying on Brigham and Women's to handle a number of processes, including verifying staff credentials and managing patient complaints.

"Dana-Farber has been providing excellent, safe and effective inpatient cancer care in our current structure for 20 years," the hospital said in the statement to Becker's. Dana-Farber said CMS officials have been "been very complimentary about the actual care we provide, but want to ensure that Dana-Farber is more clearly responsible for all of the services provided to patients in our inpatient hospital."

Dana-Farber has until the end of June to correct the issues CMS identified. The hospital has already submitted a plan to fix the problems to CMS, which includes the following changes:

"We are committed to meeting all of CMS' current conditions of participation and fully expect to be able to keep caring for patients in the Medicare program," said Dana-Farber.

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