Safety issues spur Pennsylvania hospital to create new exec position

Lancaster (Pa.) General Hospital created a new executive position to oversee clinical operations after a patient left the hospital wearing staff scrubs and was found wandering across town last fall, according to LancasterOnline.

The patient, who has cognitive impairments, left the hospital the night of Oct. 12, 2018, without staff members' knowledge. The individual was found about a mile away at UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster and safely returned to the hospital, Lancaster General spokesperson John Lines told LancasterOnline.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health cited the hospital over the safety event Feb. 15, which marked Lancaster General's third citation in one year. The hospital was first cited in February 2018 for failing to administer hundreds of respiratory treatments to patients due to staff and medication shortages. It received a second citation in November 2018 for failing to adequately investigate and report abuse allegations. The health department accepted the hospital's plan of correction in both circumstances. 

As part of its correction plan for the third citation, Lancaster General created the position of chief operating and integration officer to oversee all clinical operations at the hospital, reports PennLive. Lancaster General is currently conducting a national search to fill this position. The hospital has also implemented other policies and precautions under the health department's guidance to prevent other patients from wandering off.

"We deeply regret that our patient care fell short of the standards for excellence our staff fulfill each day," Jan Bergen, president and CEO of Lancaster General Health, said in an April 1 statement to LancasterOnline. "We fully accept the Department of Health's findings and, with its guidance, developed a corrective action plan that includes educational and procedural policies into our daily operations."

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