A public notice appears in today’s issue of The Morehead News to announce that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are terminating the contract with St. Claire Regional Medical Center (SCR) effective Aug. 17.

    What that advertisement does not state is that the Morehead hospital had until that date to respond to two patient complaints, which it has done.

    Under federal regulations, CMS must immediately publish public notices in local newspapers when a contracted health care provider is the subject of a complaint.

    “SCR has already submitted and implemented the plan of correction that was approved and accepted by CMS on Wednesday,” said St. Claire Regional President/CEO Mark. J. Neff. “This means after a follow-up survey, CMS will not be terminating the Medicare and Medicaid contract with SCR.”

    The CMS letter presented to the hospital with the date of July 25 stated that, after a survey conducted July 6, deficiencies that could “potentially”affect the health and safety of patients were found.

    “We did have an unannounced female enter the hospital and assist as a volunteer at the hospital,” Neff said. “She had in weeks prior applied to be a volunteer and had successfully gone through a background check but had not completed volunteer orientation nor was scheduled. This individual’s presence resulted in no harm to patients.”

    “We have since applied the appropriate corrective actions and re-trained all SCR staff regarding the urgency of following security protocols including the validation of approved badge identification,” he continued.

    Neff affirmed that patient  safety issues at SCR are taken very seriously.

    “SCR takes any steps necessary to remain in full compliance with all CMS guidelines. Our top priority has been, and will continue to be, patient safety and providing outstanding health care to our region,” he stated.

    Kim Bandura can be reached at kbandura@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.