Ailing hospital in Rockville gets 45 days to fix errors

Examiners find patients didn't get tests, medicines

April 14, 2000|By M. William Salganik | M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF

The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has given Adventist Hospital in Rockville 10 days to develop a plan to correct quality problems and 45 days to complete the corrections. This marks the state's first inspection report since October, when it issued a report highly critical of the hospital.

"Although there was evidence that the hospital has made some corrective action, serious leadership and oversight issues continue," the health department said in a report released yesterday.

Terry White, interim president of the hospital, said Shady Grove has already corrected many of the problems cited in the new report, which was based on a February inspection, and was on its way to correcting the rest.

An "overarching issue" in both the state's report and the most recent one by the national accrediting organization, the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), was "instability in governance and leadership," White said.

This was addressed Wednesday, he continued, when Adventist HealthCare, which operates Shady Grove and Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, named William G. Robertson as its chief executive officer. Robertson had been CEO of a hospital system in the Kansas City, Kan., area.

Both the state and the accrediting organization have placed Shady Grove under intense scrutiny since last fall, when they sent in inspection teams after doctors raised questions about quality at the hospital. The state found examples of medical errors including a woman with a broken right hip who received surgery on her left hip, and an intensive care patient who died when left unattended in a hallway.

The state report released yesterday lacked such dramatic examples, but did cite patients who did not receive medication or tests as quickly as they should have and lab samples that lacked identifying patient numbers.

"Obviously, there have been some documentation problems," White conceded, but said the cases reviewed by the state were those that had sparked patient complaints.

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