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Hospital's officials voice optimism

Saturday, August 27, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times
by LORI RACKL Health Reporter

After claiming to have fixed problems that inspectors said had put patients "at risk for serious harm or death," Provident Hospital officials now say they don't expect to have their federal funding yanked.

Provident officials said Friday the hospital fared well in recent inspections by a group that accredits hospitals and by Illinois public health surveyors, who earlier this year issued scathing reports that cited several "significant" health code violations at the Cook County-owned facility. Those reports, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, revealed that patients died after being left unattended, employees were lax about infection control, drugs weren't properly stored and a security guard allegedly manhandled a patient awaiting care.

The hospital, at 500 E. 51st St., is in jeopardy of losing its Medicaid funding because of the violations. But Provident executives said state inspectors who visited the hospital this week indicated that the hospital is back in compliance thanks to the corrective steps Provident has taken in time to meet its Sept. 29 deadline.

Whether those steps will be good enough for the feds remains to be seen. A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, which inspects state hospitals on behalf of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the surveyors' findings have yet to be made public.

Hospital officials also said the facility will keep its accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. A JCAHO spokesman confirmed that surveyors from the agency visited the hospital last week to see if it warranted re-accreditation, but "no decision has been rendered." He said that process typically takes two weeks to four months.

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