Ken Kalthoff, NBCDFW.com
The critical report that threatens to cut federal Medicare and Medicaid funding at Dallas Parkland Hospital as well as the hospital's response for solving those problems are being released today.
Parkland Hospital submitted an action plan to federal regulators Friday to address serious health and safety problems.
Because of the violations discovered in a July inspection, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has threatened to remove Dallas County’s public hospital from the programs on Sept. 2.
Medicare and Medicaid provide about a third of Parkland’s budget, and loosing the money could close the hospital, officials have said.
"The deficiencies in our operation are humbling. We're saddened by those because we do want to achieve excellence," said Dr. Ron Anderson, Parkland CEO.
The Parkland Hospital Board of Directors met Friday afternoon to accept the action plan and publicly release the entire inspection report for the first time.
"We understand our obligation to the community of Dallas County," said Dr. Lauren McDonald, board president.
Parkland was informed of the violations in an Aug. 8 letter from CMS and told to have a corrective plan of action in place by Friday.
The eight-day, surprise inspection of the hospital's entire operation in July came after the February death of a psychiatric emergency patient who was left unattended.
Dr. John Jay Shannon, chief medical officer, said the violations centered chiefly on lapses in infection control and patient screening in acute and emergency care areas.
The public hospital has recorded a tremendous increase in indigent patients in those areas during the economic downturn.
"The fact that we're busy or the fact that we've got a crush of patients doesn't give us any excuse from doing the right thing for the patient in front of us," Shannon said.
"We own these problems entirely," he said. "We make no excuses for the findings. We make no quibbles about the findings. We will fix every one of the deficiencies that was cited."
Hospital officials said training is under way for every employee to reinforce rules and record-keeping procedures that must always be followed.
David Wright, acting deputy regional CMS administrator, said his staff will review Parkland's action plan by next week.
Wright said inspectors will likely return to Parkland to verify the changes before the Sept. 2 deadline to cut federal funding.
"They're looking for us to comply with the standards," Anderson said. "I believe that we are doing that, so I really don’t believe that’s going to be an issue."
"There are lots of what ifs, but our purpose was saying, 'We have to fix it. And let's fix it,'" he said. "And we've got it done. And we'll see. But I suspect they'll be quite reasonable."