Hamlet hospital back on track?

By Kevin Spradlin

* Aug. 22: Sandhills Regional Medical Center faces termination of Medicare payments

More than one employee at the Sandhills Regional Medical Center believes the Hamlet hospital is off the hook in regards to the suspension of Medicare and Medicaid payments.

“That is good news,” said one hospital employee.

A Sandhills Regional Medical Center photo

A Sandhills Regional Medical Center photo

Two employees indicated that state investigators had completed their work this week and have given the “all clear” for the facility to resume accepting Medicaid and Medicare payments from patients. Without the thumbs up, patients covered by such policies would have to seek treatment elsewhere.

At issue is the involuntary termination of the Medicare/Medicaid Provider Agreement between the hospital and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. A legal notice published Aug. 22, which The Pee Dee Post was first to report, indicated Sandhills Regional Medical Center failed in three areas — governing body, patient rights and nursing services.

“The Medicare program will not make payment to Sandhills Regional Medical Center for services to patients who are admitted for inpatient services on or after Sept. 6, 2014. For patients admitted prior to Sept. 6, 2014, payment may continue for a maximum of 30 days for services. Such payment is specifically limited to covered services through the close of business Sept. 6, 2014.”

In a statement emailed to the Post on Aug. 22 evening, Maureen Henslee, chief financial officer at Sandhills Regional Medical Center said CMS “has cited our hospital related to a recent patient safety event.”

On Thursday, calls to the administration’s office at the hospital were not returned by 4 p.m. A representative with the the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in Atlanta said staff at her agency were “working on the final report right now” shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday.

The report, the spokesperson said, should be available “in a couple days.”

On Aug. 22, the Post filed a Freedom of Information Act request to Bobby Cobb and Lee Millman, both of of the Atlanta office of CMS. The request specifically sought “Report 2567 and all related documents from Jan. 1, 2014 through Aug. 22, 2014.”

Through 4 p.m. Thursday, however, that request had not been fulfilled.

Late on Aug. 22, Henslee said a required Plan of Correction had been approved by CMS. But there was no response to a follow-up inquiry and request for supporting documentation about the approval.

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