Houston hospital at risk of losing Medicare funding after patient shooting

CMS has warned St. Joseph Medical Center that it will be terminated from the Medicare program effective Oct. 16 unless the Houston-based hospital corrects safety problems that put patients in "immediate jeopardy," according to a Houston Chronicle report.

One of the deficiencies CMS identified was the hospital's failure to ensure that off-duty police officers involved in the shooting of a patient earlier this year had been trained in responding to crises involving confused or aggressive patients, according to the report.

An off-duty Houston Police Department Officer who was working security at St. Joseph shot a 26-year-old "combative" patient on Aug. 27.

Federal investigators also found the hospital failed to ensure patients' rights were protected and that contracted officers' duties were clear, according to the report.

St. Joseph has already taken steps to address the issues identified by federal officials and has submitted a plan for correction to CMS.

"Without standard precautions and security measures, no urban hospital like St. Joseph Medical Center can provide the environment required to care for patients, including those who become violent due to alcohol/drug abuse or medical/behavioral issues that can impair judgment," hospital officials said in a statement. "Following our internal review, our senior management team and governing board members took swift actions to ensure this kind of incident does not occur in our hospital again."

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