CMS to investigate University of Maryland hospital in response to viral video

A blue hospital sign on the side of a building
A video showing a young woman discharged in her hospital gown outside UMMC's Midtown Campus went viral earlier this month. (Getty/Manuel-F-O)

CMS will investigate a hospital in Baltimore after a video of a woman discharged in her hospital gown went viral on Facebook. 

A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services told NPR that it would conduct an investigation into what went wrong at the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus earlier this month. CMS heard about the incident through media reports, according to the article. 

The spokesperson did not specify what regulatory requirements are under investigation, or what kind of penalties UMMC might face, according to the article. 

"If you get the federal government involved and they're looking into your actions or nonactions, it's a pretty big deal, practically and symbolically," Frankie Berger, director of advocacy at the Treatment Advocacy Center, which supports better treatment for people with mental illnesses, told the publication. 

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The video, which has been shared more than 40,000 times so far on the social media site, shows security guards walking away from a downtown bus stop. A woman in a gown and socks is nearby, as are several bags filled with what appear to be her belongings. 

Officials at UMMC said shortly after the event that the woman received appropriate care while hospitalized and that the incident happened postdischarge. 

"We take full responsibility for this failure," CEO Mohan Suntha, M.D., said at the time. 

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The family of the woman in the video spoke out about the incident last week, saying the 22-year-old woman had mental illnesses and had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, according to an article from The Baltimore Sun. The woman's mother said she had gone missing after entering an inpatient treatment facility in the city. 

The family has hired an attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon, to represent her, and he said he is exploring their legal options. He said it's clear in the video that the woman was in a state of psychiatric distress. 

"They were under federal obligation to screen and treat her," Gordon told the newspaper. "It's not a misdiagnosis, it's a dump."