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PA: Understaffing Not a Factor in Carlisle Deaths

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 9, 2011

The state report reviewed documents from the hospital and includes interviews with at least 18 unnamed employees who complained about poor and unresponsive management and retaliation against "troublemakers."  

Carlisle Regional said that a review of medical records found that allegations made by employees who spoke with the state were not accurate, and that the ED patients had, in fact, received prompt and appropriate care before their deaths.

In addition, Carlisle Regional said there was no evidence to suggest that employees who spoke out on hospital issues faced retaliation. The medical center said it encourages employee feedback and has a hotline, operated by a third party, by which employee concerns may be reported anonymously. Only one issue has been reported in this manner this year, Carlisle said in an e-mail to HealthLeaders Media Thursday.

The state also approved Carlisle Regional's correction plan to address deficiencies found in the state's June 22 survey. Wolf said the state has conducted onsite surveys at Carlisle Regional every day, including weekends, since August 19, and has not cited any material deficiencies.

Carlisle, however, in an e-mail to HealthLeaders, called the term "'Plan of Correction' a bit of a misnomer," and described the document as "merely the communication tool used between the hospital and the Department of Health to provide additional information to the State."  

Kristel said the state's ruling validates his skepticism of the initial report.

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