King-Harbor could lose federal funding after ED crisis

CMS has run out of patience with Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, which it says has put emergency room patients in "immediate jeopardy" of harm or death. The hospital, formerly known as King/Drew, was already on bad terms with CMS, which had threatened to take away the hospital's federal funding certification after serious care problems emerged. This is part of a larger pattern for King-Harbor, which has been cited more than a dozen times for care problems over the past three and a half years. Things came to a head in March, when the hospital conducted  a dramatic restructuring which closed its trauma unit, ended its residency program and cut beds by more than 75 percent.

By negotiating with CMS, officials with the hospital managed to stave off a pending Medicare decertification, but the facility was essentially on probation, required to meet Medicare's basic standards or risk losing funding permanently. After reports surfaced of a pain-stricken woman dying in the emergency department, CMS conducted an emergency investigation. The troubled public hospital now has 23 days to fix its major problems. If it can't meet the deadline it will lose CMS certification permanently.

To get more information on King-Harbor's Medicare crisis:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece

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