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CMS notifies HCA Mission Hospital of immediate jeopardy status

Based on letters obtained by the Asheville Watchdog, CMS has notified leadership at HCA’s Mission facility in Asheville, N.C., that the facility is in urgent danger of losing federal funding and that action must be taken.

CMS gave Memorial Mission Hospital and Asheville Surgery Center’s CEO, Chad Patrick, until February 6 to submit a plan of correction to resolve issues and keep Medicare and Medicaid funding. The deadline was established in a letter from CMS dated February 1.

"You may avert the termination by removing the immediate jeopardy conditions or coming into compliance with the hospital Conditions of Participation within 23 days from the date of this notice (February 24, 2024),"

CMS Stated

In late 2018, the hospital was inspected by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of CMS. The first findings of the examination suggested that the facility be placed in urgent danger. Nine flaws were found by NCDHHS inspectors in relation to events that occurred at the hospital between April 2022 and November 2023. As a result, between December 1 and December 9, there was an instant recognition of the hazard.  

There is little information available about what precipitated the identifications of individuals in immediate danger; however, CMS stated in a letter to hospital administrators on February 1st that Mission did not comply with requirements for the following conditions of participation: governing body, emergency services, nursing services, patients’ rights, quality assurance, and laboratory services.

A hospital representative named Nancy Lindell submitted a statement to Becker’s on February 6 saying

"There are no excuses for our patients receiving anything other than exceptional care, and Mission Health has already taken action based on the preliminary findings shared last month." "We are happy to hear that such efforts are having a good impact, such as shorter wait times for service, from our EMS partners and patients. We appreciate the survey process and will send CMS our corrective action plan before the deadline. Once more, these results fall short of the level of care that our patients or we demand, and we are actively striving for improvement."

Nancy Lindell

Additionally, President Greg Lowe of HCA Healthcare North Carolina Division wrote workers an internal email alerting them to the immediate peril situation, which The Ashville Watchdog was able to receive. In that email, Mr. Lowe stated that once the hospital got the preliminary findings, “significant HCA Healthcare resources were deployed to assist with our response” and that more employees had been hired to work in the emergency department.

Attorney General Josh Stein of North Carolina filed a lawsuit against HCA on December 14. The lawsuit claims that by reducing some emergency and cancer services, the Nashville, Tennessee-based for-profit hospital operator breached the terms of the asset acquisition agreement for Mission Health. In 2019, HCA paid $1.5 billion to purchase Mission Health.

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