CMS: Poor board governance hurt quality at Sonoma West Medical Center

The lack of board oversight at Sebastopol, Calif.-based Sonoma West Medical Center jeopardized management, operations, patient safety and the financial status of the facility, according to a CMS report naming 13 deficiencies at the hospital, the Sonoma West Times & News reports.

Among the deficiencies named was the failure to ensure a corrective action plan was in place to eradicate black mold in the hospital's sterilization area, according to the report. The hospital has suspended surgical procedures since June due to the mold.

CNO Barbara Vogelsang told Sonoma West Times & News none of the issues cited by CMS were life-threatening, but due to the fact the hospital had no quality manager, some of the "back burner" issues were never addressed, creating potentially dangerous conditions.

CMS said the deficiencies found in the hospital stemmed from the lack of oversight by the governing board. SWMC has cycled through nine CEOs and management teams since October 2015 and its board has experienced a similar frequency of turnover, according to the Sonoma West Times & News report.

Following the CMS report, which was issued July 19, according to another report from the Sonoma West Times & News, SWMC appointed an interim quality control officer, created a quality assurance program, updated its infection control procedures and created compositional bylaws for its board, according to the report.

SWMC expects to hear back from CMS this week on its progress.

Read the full story here.


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