Seattle Children's will keep Medicare contract

Seattle Children's hospital is no longer at risk of losing its Medicare and Medicaid funding, according to The Seattle Times.

The hospital was in danger of losing its provider agreement with CMS after mold was detected in its operating rooms. Tests revealed traces of Aspergillus mold in several operating rooms and equipment storage rooms May 18. Over the past two years, the mold led to one patient's death and five other infections, according to KING-TV­­, which cited a statement from Seattle Children's.

After the mold was detected at Seattle Children's in May, hospital officials reported the issue to the Washington State Department of Health. The department performed a three-day on-site survey of the hospital in late May and found more than two dozen violations of federal regulations and hospital policy, including failure to properly maintain air filtering systems that fed to operating rooms.

CMS was set to terminate the hospital's provider agreement Sept. 19, but the hospital corrected all deficiencies before the termination date. The hospital switched to an updated and sanitized air handler, implemented a new cleaning process that uses ultraviolet light to disinfect surfaces, installed a new humidification system, and sealed potential sources of air leaks in operating rooms.

The Washington State Department of Health performed a surprise inspection of the hospital Aug. 7 and determined it was in compliance with state requirements, and CMS has approved the hospital's plan of correction.

"I'm really pleased and proud after all the work, we got validation from the Department of Health and CMS that they did get a chance to verify our work and do feel like we are where we need to be," Seattle Children's CEO Jeff Sperring, MD, told The Seattle Times.

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