DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Parkland Hospital says it can and will fix problems that turned up in a recent federal audit of its practices. The hospital finally revealed the nature of the complaints and plans to fix them at a mid-afternoon board meeting.
“I hope that they keep the Medicaid,” says Pamela Williams, who is among the thousands of people hoping Parkland pulls through so her son can, too. “Because if they don’t then I don’t know what we’re going to do to take care of him because that’s always what he’s had since he’s had sickle cell.”
Parkland officials say in their haste to see more people they may have dropped the ball. “Our intention was to take care of more people,” says Parkland’s CEO Dr. Ron Anderson.
The hospital is at risk because of problems turned up in a federal audit in two main areas. It found practices that could inadvertently spread infectious diseases, like taking food into patients’ rooms. “And what they say is not that they saw something that caused harm to a patient,” said Dr. John Jay Shannon, the hospital’s chief medical officer, “but they saw care processes that had the potential to cause harm to a patient.”
The audit also said Parkland’s paperwork could not prove it hadn’t turned away emergency room patients or “dumped” them without them being seen. Especially hurtful since Dr. Anderson helped write anti-dumping legislation. “It’s humbling to think that that’s the case, said Anderson, adding, “All those patients were screened and all those patients were seen and they weren’t sent outside the organization.”
Medicare and Medicaid represents nearly half of Parkland’s income; federal reimbursements could dry up if not fixed. The hospital claims it is already reeducating staff to address its issues. Parkland says there is no guarantee…but it is hopeful its proposed fixes will be acceptable. Nonetheless federal investigators will be back later this month to check on progress.