UNC flagship hospital's Medicare contract in jeopardy

CMS is giving UNC Health's flagship hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C., until July 23 to correct patient safety issues or lose its Medicare funding, The News & Observer reported July 11. 

State inspectors conducted a survey of UNC Medical Center on June 17, and an "immediate jeopardy was identified," according to a June 30 letter CMS sent to the hospital's president and obtained by The News & Observer. The letter noted the hospital failed to meet four conditions of participation in the Medicare program, including infection control and patients' rights. 

"During a recent complaint survey, issues were investigated including a patient suicide after discharge and infection prevention issues related to documenting the COVID-19 vaccination status of vendors and the physical spacing of patients and visitors in our busy emergency department waiting room," a UNC Health spokesperson told The News & Observer July 11.

The hospital submitted a correction plan to CMS before the July 5 deadline, and hospital officials expect investigators to conduct a follow-up survey of the facility in coming weeks. If CMS determines that the reasons for termination remain during the follow-up survey, the hospital's Medicare contract will be terminated July 23, according to the letter the agency sent hospital officials. If corrections have been made, the termination procedures will be halted. 

UNC Medical Center is one of two hospitals in the state facing potential Medicare termination. Wilson (N.C.) Medical Center could lose its Medicare contract after state investigators identified immediate jeopardy to patients' health and safety stemming from three events early this year. The hospital submitted a corrective action plan to CMS June 28 and is awaiting a response. 

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