Milwaukee hospital's ER still slow to check on patients after woman's death, CMS finds

A CMS inspection has found several instances in which emergency room staff at Milwaukee-based Froedtert Hospital did not check on patients as often as they should have per hospital policy, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report.

The inspection took place after a 25-year-old woman who sought care at the ER left after waiting nearly two and half hours to find an urgent care clinic. She died soon after.

The CMS inspection brought to light six other instances where staff delayed checking ER patients' vitals in December and January, according to records obtained by the Journal Sentinel through an open records request.

For the inspection, 20 reports were reviewed. In one instance, a patient came to the ER after taking a painkiller and alcohol. Hospital policy dictates that staff check the patient's vital signs every 30 minutes. But the inspection found that the vital signs were not checked at all in a five-hour time period.

The report does not detail how the delays in checking patients affected their care.

Despite these lapses, the hospital was "was found to be in substantial compliance with CMS standards," a spokesperson for Froedtert Hospital told Becker's. Thus, the hospital was not required to submit a response or corrective action plan to CMS.

The spokesperson also said that the hospital's services are always in high demand since it is the only Level 1 trauma center in southeast Wisconsin.

The hospital has invested "tens of millions of dollars in our emergency department and continues to focus on strategies to more quickly and efficiently connect our patients to the care they need," the spokesperson said.

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