Infection control violations jeopardize hospital's Medicare status

Infection control and emergency care violations that threaten patient safety could cost a Dallas hospital its Medicare certification. A surprise inspection of Parkland Memorial Hospital in late July by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) uncovered the violations, which CMS called "significant deficiencies" in a letter to facility CEO Ron Anderson this week, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reports. 

Details of the violations won't be released until after Parkland submits a plan of correction, due Aug. 20. However, a hospital executive told the Associated Press that at least one of the infection-control violations included hospital staff touching a patient, then touching another surface accessed by other people. 

"The results are a serious disappointment to Parkland," Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Jay Shannon said, according to the AP. "We were not anticipating those results and we take them very seriously." 

Anderson, in a statement, said that hospital officials already knew about some of the violations, and had already been working toward correcting them. "We expected deficiencies and are grateful for assistance in identifying them," he said. 

The inspection stemmed from the death of George Cornell in February. Cornell was schizophrenic and had heart problems, and was restrained by technicians who lacked proper training, then inefficiently monitored by a nurse, according to the AP. 

Should Parkland fail to deliver "acceptable plans of correction" by the Aug. 20 deadline, as well as remedy the situation by Aug. 24, the hospital's Medicare agreement will be terminated on Sept. 2. The 675-bed hospital treats roughly 150,000 patients annually, according to NBC DFW

To learn more:
- read this NBC DFW article
- check out this Associated Press piece
- here's the CMS letter to Parkland CEO Ron Anderson (.pdf)
- here's Anderson's statement (.pdf)