Florida hospital will keep Medicare contract after investigation into sex abuse

Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Fla., is no longer at risk of losing its Medicare contract, according to the Miami Herald.

An inspection of the hospital by state health regulators in June revealed an employee accused of sexual battery on a patient had been allowed to continue working directly with patients, according to the report. After the inspection, CMS placed the hospital on "immediate jeopardy" and warned the hospital that its Medicare and Medicaid provider agreements would be terminated July 3 unless it corrected deficiencies identified during the on-site survey.

Mount Sinai Medical Center submitted a corrective action plan and state health regulators conducted a follow-up survey at the hospital on June 26. CMS sent a letter to hospital administrators June 28, informing them that the hospital's Medicare contract was no longer in jeopardy. After completing the follow-up survey, state health regulators "determined that the immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety was removed, and the hospital was in full compliance with the Medicare Conditions of Participation," stated the letter from CMS obtained by the Miami Herald.  

The threat of Medicare termination stemmed from a patient's accusation that Christian Vidal, a mental health technician, sexually assaulted her after being admitted to Mount Sinai's behavioral health unit in November. 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.

In its corrective action plan submitted to CMS, Mount Sinai said several changes are being made to ensure a similar situation doesn't occur in the future. The hospital said it is implementing new policies for reporting abuse, neglect and abandonment of patients to the appropriate bodies and will require hospital employees who are accused of misconduct to be removed from patient contact until an investigation is completed, according to the Miami Herald.

Access the full Miami Herald article here.

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