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