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CMS Extends Scrutiny Over Parkland Hospital

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, March 7, 2013

Dallas-based Parkland Health & Hospital system will have to be on alert for federal safety officials longer than planned.

The troubled hospital is nearing the end of a two-year corrective action plan for myriad quality and patient safety concerns that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found in 2011. The federal agency was due to inspect the hospital for improvements by April 30, but on Wednesday the hospital announced that CMS would conduct its Medicare certification survey after that date.

In 2011, CMS placed Parkland under a systems improvement agreement (SIA), which means a hospital may continue to receive Medicare reimbursements as long as a third party is onsite to monitor and facilitate changes that need to be made.

The consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal has been working with Parkland to implement some 499 action items CMS deemed critical to the hospital keeping its Medicare certification, thus reimbursements. At Parkland's last board meeting on February 26, the hospital reported it had completed 484, or 97% of those recommendations.

Parkland still has to get that number up to 100% by April 30, but now that CMS has extended the time it will take to survey the hospital's changes, there's what CMS calls an "element of surprise" to the federal surveyors' arrival.

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