Federal Authorities Investigate Connecticut Hospital

Federal authorities are conducting a thorough investigation of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Care Center in Connecticut. Hartford Business Journal Online reports: "The failure of an oxygenator — medical equipment often used in cardiac surgery in conjunction with a heart-lung machine — triggered a complaint by the state of Connecticut to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid [Services] (CMS), said Roseanne Pawelec, an agency spokeswoman.

"All hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements must meet minimum health and safety standards in about 23 major areas of hospital operations, she explained. A top-to-bottom probe is not unusual, authorities said. Since Oct. 1, there have been nine such investigations in Connecticut. ... CMS authorized the state to conduct a survey, or investigation, ... four areas at the hospital that pertained to the complaint." These include the "governing body; quality assessment and performance improvement; physical environment; and surgical services. ... The investigation, which concluded on Aug. 3, determined that the minimum health and safety standards or conditions for participation in the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs were not met. That finding triggered the current, full-scale investigation that is now underway, Pawelec said" (Dunne, 8/30).

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