Unsafe conditions threaten patient safety at HCA Florida hospital, physicians claim

Physicians at HCA Florida Bayonet Point in Hudson, a 290-bed facility owned by HCA Healthcare, claim unsanitary surgical instruments and other issues threaten patient safety.

NBC News reports that some physicians believe the safety claims are a result of cost-cutting measures the facility took back in 2021. 

"Four doctors said the quality of care at the facility has declined significantly since 2021, when HCA cut staff and began hiring contract workers," NBC reported. "They said that the number of so-called sentinel events — patient safety incidents that result in death, permanent or severe temporary harm — have risen."

A spokesperson for Bayonet Point told NBC in a statement that the hospital is "looking for ways to improve patient safety and quality of care" and "is appropriately staffed to ensure the safe care of our patients," adding that when needed, it takes necessary actions to protect its patients. 

However, physicians at the hospital allegedly provided photographs to NBC showing ceiling leaks, bloody and clogged sinks, cockroaches in an operating room, wires dangling from holes in the facility's walls, and more. 

The Medicare ratings for the hospital show one star for overall quality and two stars for "patient survey" ratings. According to Medicare's ratings, the facility received an average ranking for "safety of care," but a lower average rating for "timely and effective care."   

Records obtained from CMS that show statements on hospital deficiencies contain multiple entries for HCA Bayonet Point dating back to 2016, citing issues ranging from failing "to ensure a patient's legal representative was notified of changes in condition" and even failing "to give the family information to make an informed decision regarding end of life decisions."

Records also state that the facility failed "to ensure minimum staffing levels according to the facility staffing grids" which as of 2022 were found to be so low that they "resulted in dangerous levels for patient care" at the facility.  

Becker's reached out to HCA Healthcare with a request for comment and received a reply stating that despite one of the physicians' criticisms to NBC, that this week he still "admitted patients and performed elective surgeries at Bayonet Point Hospital." 

HCA's communications and community engagement director also shared the following statement from the hospital with Becker's:

"We value the input and leadership of our medical staff members at HCA Florida Bayonet Point Hospital. In addition to seeking input from physicians through informal relationships, we have medical staff department meetings, medical executive committees, physician relations teams assigned to get feedback from individual physicians and annual physician voice surveys. We take quality issues very seriously, no matter who raises them. We rely on feedback from our physicians, and when issues are validated, we take necessary action. Our commitment to safety is reflected in the recognition we have received from third party organizations, including a Leapfrog A Safety Grade in the most recent release and being a Healthgrades Patient Safety Award winner in 2022. In the Spring 2022 Physician Engagement Survey at HCA Florida Bayonet Point Hospital, nearly 80 percent of physicians rated the hospital an excellent or very good place to practice."

Becker's will update this story as more information becomes available.

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