Federal officials last week approved a plan by University Community Hospital in Tampa, Fla., to fix problems that led to serious medical mistakes.
Rick James of HCFA's office in Atlanta said the agency has given University Community until April 20 to make procedural changes or lose Medicare and Medicaid funding that accounts for $52 million a year, or nearly one-third of the hospital's business.
James said federal inspectors will make another stringent, unannounced inspection to see if an "immediate and serious threat" to patients still exists. And they will determine whether the improvements are sufficient to meet federal standards.
Norm Stein, the hospital's president, said he was pleased the corrective plan was approved. "But this is only the first step. The hospital's administration, its employees and medical staff remain focused on proving to HCFA, the state, our patients and the public that UCH is a safe, quality hospital."
The federal intervention was triggered by the wrong-foot amputation of 51-year-old diabetic Willie King on Feb. 20.
Next came the case of 77-year-old Leo Alfonso, who died March 3 after he was mistakenly removed from life-support. Alfonso's death also is under criminal investigation.
The hospital also disclosed that arthroscopic surgery was performed on the wrong knee in a procedure at the hospital's Carrollwood branch.
Since then, it has been disclosed that in March a doctor mistakenly began a sterilization procedure, tying a Fallopian tube of a woman who had just given birth at the hospital. The error was caught before the other tube was tied.