CMS mon­i­tors Bay­lor’s ef­forts to curb rate of ‘eloped’ psych pa­tients

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Sabriya Rice

Bay­lor Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Dal­las has un­til the end of Oc­to­ber to demon­strate to the CMS that it has ad­dressed lapses that have al­lowed sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of un­treated psy­chi­atric pa­tients to walk out of its emer­gency depart­ment with­out staff re­al­iz­ing they had left.

The CMS ac­cepted the hos­pi­tal’s cor­rec­tive plan last week, and the fed­eral agency will de­ter­mine whether its “im­me­di­ate jeop­ardy” judg­ment will be re­moved fol­low­ing an un­planned follow-up in­spec­tion by Oct. 30.

The med­i­cal cen­ter’s CEO, John McWhorter, re­ceived a let­ter from fed- eral health of­fi­cials on Oct. 7, say­ing the fa­cil­ity no longer met Medi­care par­tic­i­pa­tion re­quire­ments be­cause of de­fi­cien­cies rep­re­sent­ing “im­me­di­ate jeop­ardy to pa­tient health and safety.” A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the 876-bed, not-for-profit fa­cil­ity de­clined to com­ment, but McWhorter ad­mit­ted to lo­cal me­dia that the hos­pi­tal “didn’t do a very good job of keep­ing (pa­tients) from leav­ing.”

Ac­cord­ing to the CMS’ in­spec­tion re­port, of 361 pa­tients ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal’s ED on Sept. 8, 31 pa­tients were clas­si­fied as “eloped,” mean­ing they left the hos­pi­tal with­out staff knowl­edge and be­fore their treat­ment was com­pleted. The re­port de­tails how a few psy­chi­atric pa­tients had ar­rived at the hos­pi­tal with sui­ci­dal or homi­ci­dal thoughts, in­clud­ing one who in­gested a com­bi­na­tion of Win­dex and over-the-counter pain med­i­ca­tions. Each walked out of the hos­pi­tal with­out staff notic­ing.

The rate of pa­tients leav­ing the hos­pi­tal’s ED with in­com­plete eval­u­a­tion or treat­ment was more than twice the rate set by na­tional bench­marks, and three times higher than the hos­pi­tal’s own goal, ac­cord­ing to in­spec­tors.

The hos­pi­tal faces a follow-up

in­spec­tion by Oct. 30.

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