Lapses in cleanliness, infection-control procedures and in the treatment of patients with behavioral health problems were among the most common violations found in Connecticut hospitals inspected by the state health department in 2015, reports collected by C-HIT show.
Inspection reports from the state Department of Public Health, spanning 2013 through 2015 – posted in C-HIT’s Data Mine section — show a mix of citations for poor physical conditions, such as mold and fungus in pharmacy preparation areas, and inadequate patient care, including improper evaluation and treatment of psychiatric patients and use of restraints.
The state DPH inspects hospitals, which are all Medicare-certified through the federal government, once every four years. Inspections also occur when the DPH receives a complaint against a facility or is following up to ensure compliance with a corrective action plan.
C-HIT’s database, based on DPH records through late 2015, includes reports on all 29 acute-care hospitals. The records include citations from 2015 that were issued to six hospitals — some consisting of a handful of violations, and others with dozens of violations.
Among the 2015 citations are two involving unsanitary conditions in the areas where medications were prepared. Johnson Memorial Hospital was cited in January 2015 for fungus and mold growth found in an IV infusion center and pharmacy in 2013 and 2014 that DPH inspectors said was not properly addressed. The hospital closed the infusion center, made renovations, and took a number of steps to improve environmental monitoring, according to its corrective action plan.
Similarly, the Hospital of Central Connecticut was cited in early 2015 for not properly addressing microbial growth found in IV preparation rooms and a chemotherapy room. The hospital took steps to remedy the problem and improve its monitoring, its action plan shows.
Other significant findings from 2015 inspections include a citation issued to Yale-New Haven Hospital for failing to administer medications safely. The DPH found that syringes used to administer IV medications were being re-used on multiple patients – a violation of infection-control guidelines – during October 2014. The DPH report says one anesthesia resident was responsible for the violation and resigned from the hospital after the conduct was discovered. No patients were affected. The hospital improved its training in IV medication administration procedures.
Hartford Hospital was cited in September 2015 for failing to provide proper cleaning and oversight of duodenoscopes/endoscopes, instruments used in a procedure that looks at the bile and pancreatic ducts. The DPH report says the hospital did not properly respond to the discovery that 389 patients were exposed to a strain of infection known as ESBL (extended spectrum beta-lactamase) between October 2013 and December 2014. Twelve patients were diagnosed with ESBL. The hospital took steps to improve its cleaning and oversight of medical equipment.
In addition to the DPH inspection reports, federal hospital inspection reports issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after complaint inspections are available through the Association of Health Care Journalists.