Baptist Health Corbin under state and federal scrutiny

After resolving a serious deficiency following the death of a patient this spring, the president of Baptist Health Corbin said this week that the hospital is responding to new concerns from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which is under contract to inspect Kentucky hospitals for the federal agency, is conducting an investigation at Baptist Health Corbin, Cabinet spokeswoman Gwenda Bond said. Bond said she could not provide any details on the investigation by the Cabinet’s Office of Inspector General.

In a statement Thursday, Baptist Health Corbin president Larry Gray did not elaborate on the “procedural and process concerns” that he said CMS representatives cited in a recent inspection. The agency calls such an inspection a survey.

Gray said that after the hospital resolved the initial problem related to the patient’s death, the federal agency conducted another survey and cited “some additional procedural and process concerns.”

He said the hospital took measures to resolve problems.

“Baptist Health Corbin learned today that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services accepted the hospital’s plan of correction,” Gray said.

CMS officials declined to discuss the specifics of the federal agency’s concerns with Baptist Health Corbin.

The previous deficiency described as immediate jeopardy — but that Bond said has been resolved — was addressed in a May 15 letter that Sandra M. Pace, an associate regional administrator for CMS, sent to Gray.

The letter, which the Herald-Leader obtained under the state open records law, said that because of serious deficiencies related to patient health and safety, the agency had decided to terminate the Medicare provider agreement between Baptist Health Corbin and the federal government, but the termination could be averted if the hospital made corrections. Medicare is a government health insurance program primarily for people 65 and older.

Had the problem not been resolved, the Medicare program would not have made payments for inpatient hospital services to patients admitted on or after June 7, according to the letter.

In the May case, investigators found that the hospital did not meet the Medicare criteria for nursing services in a case regarding the death of a 90-year-old woman with significant health problems.

According to state documents, a nurse did not obtain a doctor’s order that the hospital required before placing a tube that carries food and medicine to the stomach through the nose. The patient turned blue and stopped breathing during the procedure and had to be placed on a ventilator. She died when the ventilator was removed days later.

An investigation found that the hospital failed to ensure that staff assessed and took appropriate action when the patient experienced a change in condition after the insertion of the tube and the administration of a solution through the tube.

According to state documents, the hospital acknowledged that a registered nurse failed to get a doctor’s order before placing the tube. The nurse was at first placed on administrative duties then given more training and supervision, the documents showed. The hospital also revised some policies, the documents said.

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