Washington safety-net hospital's Medicare funding at risk

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CMS has identified deficiencies at Mount Vernon, Wash.-based Skagit Regional Health that could cause Skagit Valley Hospital to lose Medicare funding, according to The Seattle Times.

An inspection performed in May revealed the hospital's patient grievance process and other documenting procedures were not in compliance with Medicare requirements.

"When someone files a grievance, the process for which we responded was not compliant with their time frame," Bruce Lisser, commissioner of Skagit Valley Hospital, told The Seattle Times.

The inspection also revealed deficiencies related to the hospital's emergency room triage process, but none of the issues were related to clinical care, according to the report.

Skagit Valley is a safety-net hospital and termination of its Medicare contract would be disastrous. "Losing (Medicare funding) would create major financial problems, but we think the chances of that occurring are very low," Skagit Regional Health President and CEO Gregg Davidson told The Seattle Times.

With the help of an outside consultant, Skagit Regional Health created an action plan to address the deficiencies and submitted it to CMS July 15. CMS can accept or reject the action plan.

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