AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Federal investigators say an East Texas state psychiatric hospital could lose Medicare funds because of deficiencies in 12 distinct areas of patient care and hospital management.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has given the Terrell State Hospital 90 days to fix things or lose Medicare funding — $4.6 million that accounts for about 9 percent of the hospital's $49 million budget, the Austin American-Statesman (http://bit.ly/13ti1ZN ) reported.
In a letter Wednesday, the federal agency said nursing, laboratory, food, anesthesia and respiratory services were deficient, and the hospital's infection control and physical environment for patients weren't adequate. The agency also said federal, state and local laws weren't followed.
The agency gave the hospital until Oct. 6 to fix the problems or lose funding.
"We've still got work to do, and that's our focus," said Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, which operates state hospitals. "The extra time will let us continue to work on the hospital, make improvements and meet the standards we expect from our state hospitals."
The Medicare agency was expected to reveal its detailed findings at the end of the month after the state has a Medicare-approved plan to remedy the hospital's shortcomings, the American-Statesman reported.
The investigation began in April after the American-Statesman made the agency aware of the 2012 death of Terrell State Hospital patient Ann Simmons. The 62-year-old woman died at the hospital 30 miles east of Dallas after being left in restraints for 55 hours. Medicare investigators concluded that improper care was responsible for her death and a continued threat to the lives of other patients.
After warning the state of urgent deficiencies, which the state has remedied, the Medicare agency began a comprehensive investigation of the hospital. The agency's letter stemmed from that investigation, the American-Statesman reported.
Since April, state officials have forced the hospital's superintendent to resign and closed its 20-bed medical unit.
Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com