The safety issues that put Novant hospital's Medicare contract at risk

New details from a federal inspection report obtained by WECT News 6 offer a closer look at the safety issues that temporarily put Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center at risk of losing its federal funding.

State inspectors visited the Wilmington, N.C.-based hospital in June and identified deficiencies regarding patient rights, nursing services, emergency services, quality assessment and performance improvement. 

CMS accepted Novant's plan of correction Aug. 11, and the hospital regained compliance after state inspectors performed a follow-up visit, according to a letter Novant shared with Becker's

Many of the care issues were related to nursing shortages at the hospital, which caused long wait times in the emergency room. In some cases, patients had to wait more than 10 hours to be seen. On June 13, records show the hospital had 13 ambulances waiting to offload patients into the ER. In another instance, a 77-year-old cancer patient died after coding in the hospital's ER lobby while waiting for care.

"Their investigation found issues that we had already identified and were working to correct, including concerns about wait times and the impact of our staffing shortages," a spokesperson for Novant Health told Becker's. The health system has hired hundreds of nurses in recent weeks to address these issues.

"We have reviewed and enhanced policies and procedures, significantly reduced average ED wait times and are continuing to add new nurses and other clinical roles," the spokesperson said.

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