Duke LifePoint hospital at risk of losing its Medicare contract — again

CMS is threatening to end Wilson (N.C.) Medical Center's Medicare contract for the second time this year after the agency said the hospital is breaking a federal law that ensures access to emergency care.

A spokesperson with the Duke LifePoint hospital told Becker's Nov. 8 the hospital has been placed back in jeopardy status after CMS investigators flagged pending cases involving violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).

The hospital said the EMTALA cases were previously flagged earlier this year when the hospital was first placed in jeopardy status. A state survey in May had identified immediate jeopardy to patients' health and safety, leading the hospital to submit a corrective action plan to CMS June 28. 

On Aug. 5, a spokesperson confirmed the hospital was no longer in danger of losing its Medicare contract.

"Unfortunately, the review of these [EMTALA] cases, which were identified in May and July, did not take into account the corrective action plan that was implemented in July and recently completed," the spokesperson said.

Because the hospital implemented a plan to address the previous issues, the spokesperson said the facility is confident it will pass a CMS review within the "next several weeks."

"WMC has made significant changes in our operations over the past several months as part of the regulatory reviews in which we have participated," they said. "These changes have ensured that our hospital — including our emergency department — is a safe place for care."

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