Minnesota hospital at risk of losing Medicare funding after patient shoots deputy

CMS has warned St. Cloud (Minn.) Hospital that it will be terminated from the Medicare program effective Nov. 19 unless the hospital corrects safety problems that put patients in "immediate jeopardy," according to a KNSI report.

The hospital was put on "immediate jeopardy" status following a visit by the Minnesota Department of Health, which reviewed St. Cloud's policies and procedures, some of which are related to a shooting that took place at the hospital last month.

An Aitkin County Sherriff's Investigator was shot and killed by a patient he was guarding at the hospital Oct. 18. The hospital asked the sheriff's department to station a guard to help monitor 50-year-old Danny Hammond, who was being treated after reportedly attempting suicide. Mr. Hammond was also being investigated in connection to a domestic-related incident.

Steven Sandberg, who had worked with the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office since 1992, was sent to guard Mr. Hammond. There was a struggle between the two that resulted in Mr. Hammond taking the deputy's firearm. Mr. Hammond fired several shots, killing the deputy.

Hospital security officers responded to the incident and a Taser was used on Mr. Hammond. He died a short time later.  

St. Cloud has already taken steps to resolve the issues the department of health identified, including those related to the shooting.

"We are required to complete an action plan which we have submitted and are carrying out, in order to ensure that we can continue to be a beneficiary of the Medicare and Medicaid program," Jeanine Nistler, communications director for CentraCare Health, told KNSI.

Ms. Nistler said the hospital expects to have the issue resolved ahead of the Nov. 19 deadline.

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