DALLAS (AP) — Officials with a Dallas hospital said Friday they will enter into an agreement with a federal agency to avert the loss of millions of dollars in Medicare funding that had been at risk because of problems at the facility.
Parkland Memorial Hospital was told by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in a letter Friday that its Medicare agreement would end Sept. 30 "because of deficiencies that represent an immediate and serious threat to patient health and safety."
An inspection in July of the hospital by CMS found violations in such areas as infection control and emergency care. The inspection was triggered by the death of a patient in February in the psychiatric emergency room.
A new report released Friday by CMS found that Parkland had corrected its infection-control problems, but that patients still faced "immediate jeopardy" in the emergency room.
However, the agency also told the hospital that it could prevent the funding loss if it entered into a "systems improvement agreement," in which the hospital would accept CMS-approved outside consultants who would work with Parkland to implement corrective actions.
Hospitals must be Medicare-certified to get Medicaid funding, so terminating Medicare would mean the loss of Medicaid.
The loss of Medicare and Medicaid would have been a deadly blow for the hospital. Parkland officials have said that Medicare and Medicaid make up nearly 50 percent of the hospital's funding.
In a statement, the hospital said entering into the agreement with CMS will give it "the opportunity to continue to operate fully and to address the problems identified in the recent CMS survey."
The agreement will be finalized by Sept. 30.
"We are grateful for this opportunity to work with an outside expert to address the problems identified by CMS. This allows Parkland and CMS to be jointly engaged in an aggressive improvement process," said John Jay Shannon, Parkland's executive vice president and chief medical officer. "We are committed to successfully meeting CMS expectations and to continually serving the people of Dallas County. I can guarantee we will be a stronger, more capable, safer hospital system."
Parkland, a regional center for burns and trauma, is also the main teaching hospital for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.