Most Connecticut hospitals will lose a percentage of their Medicare reimbursement payments over the next year as penalties for having high rates of readmitted patients, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Statewide, 26 of the 29 hospitals evaluated – 90 percent – will have their reimbursements reduced, by varying amounts, in the 2020 fiscal year that began Oct. 1, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of data from CMS.
CMS began in the 2013 fiscal year to penalize hospitals that have high rates of patients who are readmitted within one month of being discharged. The penalties were enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, intended to encourage better health care delivery. Nationwide, 2,583 hospitals will be penalized this year, according to Kaiser Health News.
The state Department of Public Health has fined four nursing homes, including an Enfield facility where a resident died. Parkway Pavilion Health and Rehabilitation Center in Enfield was fined $10,000 for multiple violations. On March 20, a resident was found unresponsive, sitting upright with vomit on the face. The resident was pronounced dead by emergency services personnel 15 minutes later. Records show that CPR wasn’t initiated until five minutes after staff found the resident, and 911 was called one minute after that.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing last week disciplined four nurses for drug or alcohol abuse. The board placed the registered nurse (RN) license of Sara J. Smith of Shelton on probation for four years after it found she altered a 2018 prescription for codeine after testing positive for codeine on April 3, 2019, according to a consent order signed by Smith. During her probation Smith must undergo random drug tests, attend therapy and support meetings, and is prohibited from solo practice. The RN license of Nicole Loving of Colchester was placed on probation for three years after she admitted to abusing alcohol, according to her signed consent order. During probation Loving must submit to random drug tests, attend therapy and support meetings, and cannot practice in home care, pool nursing, or self-employment.
The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has fined three nursing homes for various violations, including a New Haven facility that was cited for cocaine use by residents. RegalCare at New Haven was fined $1,680 after four residents tested positive for cocaine. On April 30, 2018, a resident tested positive for cocaine after being seen handing a dollar bill with white powder on it to another resident, according to DPH. A physician’s order dated May 3 implemented several interventions, including room searches every day for three days, but the resident’s room was only searched May 4 and May 5. The resident who was handed the dollar bill with white powder on it, who had opioid dependence, tested positive for cocaine on May 1.
The state Medical Examining Board voted Tuesday to place two doctors on probation, including a pediatrician accused of excessive alcohol use. Dr. Christine Cornachio of Simsbury, the pediatrician, is required to submit to random urine testing and individual therapy with a licensed professional as part of a consent order approved by the board that will allow her to continue practicing at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center during the five-year probationary period. Cornachio came under investigation by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) in June after the agency was notified by the Health Assistance Intervention Network, known as HAVEN, in accordance with state law. HAVEN helps medical professionals with mental health, medical and substance abuse problems. State statute requires HAVEN to report any licensed medical practitioner who did or could pose a harm to patients or declines services after being referred due to a mental health, medical or substance abuse problem. An investigation determined Cornachio utilized alcohol to excess on at least four occasions from 2014 to March 2019, the consent order said.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing last week suspended the licenses of four nurses and disciplined two others, all for drug- or alcohol-related offenses. The board summarily suspended the registered nurse (RN) license of Kathryn Lovejoy after it found her severe alcohol use disorder, as well as multiple emotional and substance abuse disorders, represent a clear and immediate danger to the public health and safety. Lovejoy, of New Haven, entered a rehabilitation program in March 2018 and was required to submit to random urine screens and breathalyzer tests, records show. In June 2019 the rehabilitation center referred Lovejoy’s case to the state Department of Public Health (DPH) after she used alcohol and failed to comply with urine tests, stating “they were unable to confirm [whether Lovejoy was] … fit to practice [nursing],” according to the motion for summary suspension. The board also summarily suspended the licensed practical nurse (LPN) license of Tammy Piccirillo of Seymour who, according to a May 2019 consent order she signed, abused opiates from 2017 to 2018.
Three nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for violations that occurred in 2017 and last year. Long Ridge Post-Acute Care in Stamford was fined $3,270 after a resident was found lying on the floor multiple times. The care plan for the resident, who had Alzheimer’s disease and anxiety, directed that the resident be kept in front of the nurse’s station when out of bed. According to the citation, the resident was found on the floor multiple times in 2017: June 23, June 27, July 4, Aug. 9 and Aug.
Seven Connecticut nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for lapses in care that endangered or hurt residents. Geer Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Canaan was fined $10,000 after a resident with dementia inappropriately touched four other residents. The resident came to the facility Feb. 27, from another nursing home and had a history of sexually inappropriate behavior, according to the citation. Geer documented four incidents of inappropriate touching of other residents between Feb.
A mother’s death a day after childbirth, a patient’s brain injury and death following thyroid gland surgery, a child’s abduction, and a sexual assault involving two patients were among the incidents cited in the latest round of hospital inspection reports conducted by the state Department of Public Health (DPH). The 36 new reports, which can be found in C-HIT’s Data Mine section, cover state inspections that took place at hospitals between 2017 and earlier this year. There were several instances when objects were left in patients following surgery. At Manchester Memorial Hospital, a series of staff errors contributed to a woman’s death one day after giving birth to a stillborn baby, the DPH inspection report said. The patient delivered the baby Jan.
The state Medical Examining Board has disciplined three doctors and fined them a total of $25,500 for lapses in the care of patients. The board, meeting in Hartford on July 16, reprimanded Dr. William Guinan of South Windsor and fined him $10,000 for failing to perform PAP smears on one of his patients for six years after having diagnosed her with cancer in 2009, state records show. Guinan surgically removed the woman’s uterus and one ovary to treat the cancer, a consent order he agreed to said. In 2015, she was diagnosed with Stage III metastatic vaginal cancer. The order said Guinan had failed to adequately document a treatment plan for her in 2009, failed to instruct the patient about her long-term cancer risks and failed to review her medical history during exams over the next six years.