California hospital launches corrective plan after 'immediate jeopardy' warning

Four preventable pediatric patient deaths spurred a CMS investigation and corrective action plan at the pediatric intensive care unit at John Muir Health's Walnut Creek (Calif.) Medical Center, the San Francisco Chronicle reported May 4.

In the wake of the deaths, which Chronicle reporters documented happened since the hospital opened the PICU in 2014, California health department investigators conducted a surprise visit in January.

A CMS statement of deficiencies found the hospital failed to define certain conditions and procedures that would require a patient to be transferred for more intensive care. John Muir executives created and implemented a corrective action plan in April. The plan clarified which patients to treat or transfer, formalized guidelines for physician peer review and which operations surgeons could perform.

CMS found no "concerns raised related to direct patient care provided," Ben Drew, a hospital spokesperson, told the Chronicle. All the deficiencies were "related to documentation."

The hospital now faces no disruption to its Medicare funding. CMS officials told the Chronicle that John Muir's corrective plan was acceptable and it will do an unannounced visit to ensure the plan is being implemented.

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