Wisconsin hospital was in 'immediate jeopardy' after 2016 patient suicide

CMS placed Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville, Wis., on "immediate jeopardy" in 2016 after a man visited the hospital with suicidal thoughts and committed suicide the same day, reports the GazetteXtra.

Four things to know:

1. Jim Brieske, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2006, visited Mercyhealth Hospital around noon on May 23, 2016. He committed suicide around 10:30 p.m. that night.

2. A complaint received shortly after Mr. Brieske's death spurred CMS to investigate Mercyhealth's compliance with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. Inspectors identified several EMTALA violations that put emergency department patients like Mr. Brieske in "immediate jeopardy," according to a CMS letter sent to the hospital and cited by GazetteXtra.

3. CMS' investigation found the physician who discharged Mr. Brieske did not discuss his condition with his case manager, social worker or crisis team. Mr. Brieske's family did not even know he'd visited the hospital the day he died until reporters from WebMD and Georgia Health News contacted them for a story on EMTALA violations in 2018.

4. Mercyhealth Hospital took corrective actions and was found in compliance with CMS during a follow-up survey Sept. 7, 2016. However, a Mercyhealth official on Feb. 1 told GazetteXtra the hospital disputed or is still disputing multiple findings from CMS' investigation, including that clinicians failed to complete an appropriate medical exam for a patient with suicidal ideations.

"Given privacy laws, we cannot comment on specifics as to the patient's treatment, however, to the extent that any patient consents, generally all patients receive a medical screening exam," Paul Van Den Heuvel, vice president of legal affairs for Mercyhealth, told the publication.

To view the full report, click here.

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