CMS Compromise Gives Parkland Reprieve

Margaret Dick Tocknell, September 12, 2011

Parkland Memorial Hospital has agreed to bring in an outside consultant to “craft a plan of improvement” for the Dallas hospital. The move is among the requirements of the systems improvement agreement that hospital officials will sign by September 15 with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The agreement is the latest effort by Parkland to protect its participation in Medicare and Medicaid. The $417 million funding from both programs represents about 35% of Parkland’s total annual budget. The programs have been at risk since a July review by federal and state officials uncovered immediate jeopardy deficiencies in the hospital’s infection control and emergency department care. The safety net hospital submitted a corrective action plan to address the issues and a follow-up review was conducted late in August.

That review identified continuing deficiencies in emergency care that were deemed to still be at the immediate jeopardy level. However, problems in infection control were downgraded from “serious” to “significant.”

Based on the follow-up review findings, the Dallas office of CMS sent Parkland CEO Ron Anderson a letter on September 9th stating that Parkland “no longer meets the requirements for participation in the Medicare program” and that its Medicare agreement will be terminated on September 30th.

However, late Friday afternoon, CMS released an e-mail statement that acknowledged the “devastating impact the termination of Parkland Hospital would have on the citizens of Dallas County and the Medicare/Medicaid patients it serves.” To ensure that Parkland “promptly and substantively remedies the ongoing quality concerns identified by the recent onsite surveys, CMS has provided Parkland with an opportunity to enter into a systems improvement agreement,” the e-mail said.

Margaret Dick Tocknell Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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