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Parkland Keeping Consultant's Analysis Under Wraps

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, February 9, 2012

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is expected to decide if a consultant's report that details ongoing problems at Parkland Health and Hospital Sytem will be released to the public. The gap analysis is currently under review by the CMS Freedom of Information Group office in Baltimore.

Parkland Hospital's board of managers, which has been open about providing documents related to the facilitiy's safety problems, originally planned to release the report. But on Monday the board met in executive session with hospital attorneys and decided to withhold the document, citing legal concerns.

"While we have a duty to be as open as possible with the public, we also have a duty to protect the rights of our patients and Parkland as an institution," said board chair Lauren McDonald, MD, in a prepared statement. "The advice we have received from our legal counsel is that the board cannot both release the report and protect those legal rights."

This is the latest episode in a tale that dates back to a July 2011 on-site review of Parkland by CMS. That review identified nine broad categories of deficiencies considered to be so severe that they presented "an immediate and serious threat to patient health and safety."

State health officials requested the review following the death of a patient in Parkland's psychiatric emergency department. The hospital had failed to report the death to federal and state regulators, as required by law.

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