CMS grants Legacy Health 7-week extension to fix patient safety issues

Facing federal allegations of patient abuse, Portland, Ore.-based Legacy Health has received an extension to fix underlying patient care issues at its psychiatric emergency facility, the Unity Center for Behavioral Health, according to Portland Tribune.

Here are four things to know:

1. The Oregon Health Authority inspected the Unity Center for Behavioral Health several times and found instances of patient abuse and neglect were either ignored or downplayed by healthcare staff and management. In some circumstances, unsafe conditions put patients in "immediate jeopardy," and investigators attributed one death to medical negligence. Unity officials on Sept. 5 confirmed a second death occured at the facility, but did not share the circumstances surrounding this death, according to Oregon Live

2. CMS originally gave Legacy Health until Sept. 11 to address the growing patient safety concerns at the behavioral health center, which opened in January 2017 to offer better care services for mental health patients in Portland.

3. The Oregon Health Authority on Sept. 4 confirmed CMS is giving Legacy Health another seven weeks to address identified management issues, according to seperate Oregon Live report. If Legacy Health does not address these deficiencies by Oct. 31, it could lose federal funding.  

"The decision by CMS to extend its 'termination track' for Unity from Sept. 11 to Oct. 31 was made after Unity implemented a plan to end an 'immediate jeopardy' situation that had been placed on it in July," Jonathan Modie, spokesperson for the Oregon Health Authority, told Portland Tribune. "CMS came to the conclusion that it would be very difficult for the hospital to complete the correction tasks by Sept. 11, but recognized the efforts the hospital made to remedy the immediate jeopardy."

4. Trent Green, president of Unity Center for Behavioral Health, said he the mental health center to remain open and fix its serious safety concerns within the month. 

"The Unity Center is critical to the community and I can assure you on hehalf of our leadership team, our staff at the four organizations, we are 100 percent commited to its success," Mr. Green told Oregon Live

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