South Dakota hospital's Medicare contract at risk over patient safety issues

CMS has placed the Indian Health Service hospital on the Rosebud (S.D.) Sioux Indian Reservation on "immediate jeopardy" status and will terminate the hospital's Medicare provider agreement Aug. 30 unless the deficiencies are corrected, according to the Argus Leader.

CMS discovered the issues during a survey of the hospital in late July. Although the specific deficiencies found were not immediately made public, CMS said there were severe problems.

"These deficiencies are so serious that they constitute an immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of any individual who comes to your hospital to receive emergency services," Steven Chickering, CMS associate regional administrator, wrote in a letter to the hospital's CEO, according to the report.

An IHS spokesperson told the Argus Leader the hospital submitted a correction plan to CMS, and inspectors revisited the hospital Aug. 13 to ensure the problems that prompted the "immediate jeopardy" status were resolved.

"IHS is committed to providing patients with quality care in the most safe and efficient manner possible," the spokesperson said in a prepared statement. "The IHS has made measurable improvements through implementation of the quality framework, the development of its strategic plan, and other quality improvement efforts, and is working diligently to continue to improve."

This is the second time in recent years CMS has threatened to revoke the hospital's Medicare billing privileges.

In 2015, inspectors found employees hand-washed surgical instruments after a sterilizer broke, failed to communicate that a patient had untreated tuberculosis, and did not monitor a patient who delivered a baby prematurely on a bathroom floor. The IHS closed the hospital's emergency room in 2016. Although health service officials tried to improve care at the facility and later reopened the ED, they shuttered the facility's surgical and OB-GYN units.

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