Healthcare News & Insights

Hepatitis C outbreak: NH Hospital won’t lose government funding

Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire just received some really good news: It won’t lose its Medicare and Medicaid funding, which were in jeopardy due to the recent hepatitis C outbreak at the facility. While most of the publicity from the outbreak was focused on David Kwiatkowski, the alleged hepatitis C “serial infector” the hospital got its fair share too, as previously reported.

On June 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) performed an unscheduled inspection of Exeter Hospital. Then six inspectors performed a follow-up inspection July 10-13.

The investigation revealed the facility failed to meet many safety measures, including securing narcotics like those allegedly used by Kwiatkowski.

Bad news

In the CMS report, investigators also found a number of deficiencies that included:

  • Nursing staff left pain medication vials unsecured on medication carts when they put on lead aprons prior to cardiac cath procedures, and in one case a nurse left the procedure room to retrieve an apron.
  • An employee with draining wounds and a finger cut was allowed to work in an environment where invasive procedures were being performed.
  • Glucometers were not cleaned and disinfected between each patient use, and
  • Employees lacked appropriate protective gear to guard against infection when entering patients’ rooms.

CMS threatened to terminate the facility’s funding on Dec. 28th if the problems weren’t fixed.

Good news

Since the investigation, the hospital has been cooperating with investigators through the entire process and has implemented a corrective action plan.

Due to the hospital’s hard work, CMS recently confirmed that the hospital is meeting all the required conditions of participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and the facility is no longer in danger of losing its government funding.

CMS made its announcement after a two-day follow-up inspection was done at the facility. A three-person team examined standards that apply to the hospital’s governing body, infection control, medication security, quality assurance, facilities and security, according to  SFGate.com.

The hospital has implemented new practices to prevent a similar outbreak from ever happening again.

” CMS’ determination that Exeter Hospital is in full compliance with its standards validates what patients have been saying for decades about our commitment to providing excellent care and our dedication to being a leader in the delivery of quality services,” Kevin Callahan, Exeter Hospital president, said in a news release. “I wish to express my deepest gratitude to all of our dedicated staff who serve our organization with integrity and professionalism while delivering extraordinary care to our patients every day.”

 

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