Hospital partially shut down after patient safety risks

E.J. Noble Hospital, already in financial duress, had to temporarily cease operations after New York state regulators shut down its laboratory, reported the Watertown Daily Times.

The New York Department of Health last week shut down the 37-bed hospital's lab after it had been cited in August for deficiencies that precipitated "imminent risks to patient health and safety," according to the Business Journal of Central New York. They included a blood test mix-up that led to a patient receiving the wrong blood type during a transfusion.

Due to the lab shut down, E.J. Noble could no longer operate its inpatient unit and emergency room. It transferred 18 patients to other area facilities and plans to lay off about 70 employees, about one-third of its workforce, according to the Daily Times.

Hospital officials say they are working on a correction plan to submit to state regulators to reopen the laboratory and hospital, the article noted.

Despite E.J. Noble's small size, it has been posting large losses. In 2011, the hospital lost $690,000, linked primarily to payment cuts from Medicaid and private payers, according to another Daily Times article.

Earlier this year, state health officials ordered bankrupt Peninsula Hospital in Queens to close its lab after finding almost 60 patient safety problems, many of which revolved around the blood bank.

For more information:
- read the Daily Times article on the hospital's lab closure
- here's the Business Journal of Central New York article
- read the Daily Times article on the hospital's losses