Detroit Medical Center's Medicare funding at risk over sterilization issues

Detroit Medical Center will lose Medicare and Medicaid funding on Dec. 14 unless it passes an inspection of its surgical infection control and sterilization processes, according to The Detroit News.

CMS performed a surprise inspection at DMC in August after The Detroit News published an investigation detailing years of problems with the hospital's central sterile department, which improperly sterilized tools for 11 years.

CMS' post-inspection report was released Tuesday after CMS accepted DMC's correction plan. The report's release put "termination proceedings" in motion, according to The Detroit News, meaning the hospital will lose its contract with CMS unless the plan is implemented and the hospital passes another inspection.

Among other issues, CMS' inspection found hospital staff did not properly clean operating rooms between surgeries, a lack of policies for cleaning surgical instruments and improper training for central sterile and surgical housekeeping staff.

"We take the survey results very seriously and through the collective efforts of our management, partners and employees we will take all actions necessary to correct the findings," a hospital statement reads.

DMC's corrective action plan with CMS includes the following actions:

  • Create a perioperative improvement council and task force to oversee perioperative services, including central sterile processing
  • Revise policies for cleaning between cases in the operating room and central sterile processing
  • Institute an annual review of infection control policies
  • Enhance training around cleaning practices

CMS will conduct a follow-up survey prior to Dec. 14 to determine if the plan is in effect and whether infection control deficiencies are fixed.

The state also investigated DMC's central sterile department and found a lack of a "robust, consistent, repeatable, comprehensively documented and well-maintained training system" for central sterile processing employees, among other issues.

DMC has yet to issue a plan of correction to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, but the hospital has plans to submit one and will post it online once it has been approved. However, as part of an agreement with the state, DMC will hire a specialty consultant to oversee improvements in its central sterile processing department.

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