Florida hospital's Medicare contract in jeopardy

Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Fla., is at risk of losing its Medicare contract after an unannounced inspection by state health regulators revealed the hospital was failing to protect patients from sexual abuse, according to the Miami Herald.

State health regulators conducted the inspection earlier this month. A report from the inspection said hospital administrators allowed an employee to continue working with patients for six months after a patient accused him of sexually assaulting her in her room, according to the Miami Herald.

The patient was admitted to Mount Sinai's behavioral health unit in November. One day after being admitted, she told hospital staff that Christian Vidal, a mental health technician, sexually assaulted her. Hospital workers called the police and the patient was taken to a local rape treatment center, where she was examined, according to the report.

For six months after the incident, hospital administrators allowed Mr. Vidal to continue working directly with patients. In May, he was arrested and charged with sexual battery. A DNA test confirmed a match between a sample taken from the patient and Mr. Vidal.

Mount Sinai CEO Steven Sonenreich told the Miami Herald on June 26 that the hospital "notified the accrediting bodies" after Mr. Vidal was arrested. The inspection report indicates that the hospital notified the Joint Commission but failed to notify the Florida Department of Children & Families, as required. Hospital administrators also didn't bring the incident to the attention of its board of directors, according to the Miami Herald.

CMS published a notice stating the hospital's Medicare and Medicaid provider agreements will be terminated July 3. However, most hospitals take steps to correct deficiencies before their funding is cut off.

A spokesperson for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration told the Miami Herald that Mount Sinai submitted a corrective action plan and an on-site review is taking place.

Access the full Miami Herald article here.

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