Two Florida hospitals are appealing recent moves by the Joint Commission to yank their accreditation after survey teams on unannounced visits cited the facilities for significant violations of accreditation standards.
Both North Ridge Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale and G. Pierce Wood Memorial Hospital in Arcadia remain accredited during their appeals.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations gave North Ridge full accreditation in May after its regular survey, JCAHO spokeswoman Cathy Barry said.
But additional information not made available at the time of the survey prompted a surprise visit Aug. 10. Barry did not specify what the information was.
The JCAHO's accreditation committee took action to deny accreditation in late October.
In a written statement, North Ridge Chief Executive Officer Emil Miller said: "We strongly disagree with the Joint Commission and feel its decision is an extreme reaction. Their action was based solely on a record-keeping issue-which in no way related to patient care-and was corrected even before we received notice from the commission."
Representatives of North Ridge, a 280-bed facility, would not be more specific about the violations at issue.
For G. Pierce Wood Memorial Hospital, a 450-bed state psychiatric facility, the decision to deny accreditation capped an 18-month run in which theAccreditation
JCAHO accredited it for the first time, with recommendations for improvement, and then returned five times for additional scrutiny.
Three of those five visits were unannounced, in response to complaints or press coverage. The last one, a surprise visit the first week of October, was a full re-survey that resulted in the decision to deny accreditation, JCAHO spokeswoman Alice Brown said.
During much of that time, the hospital was rocked by disclosures of negligence and patient deaths, and by the firing of a manager in December 1994 after he told state officials about the neglect.
Ironically, the October survey and accreditation denial came three weeks after G. Pierce Wood hired a new administrator, Myers Kurtz, to implement recommendations of a state-appointed management team to overhaul supervision and treatment procedures.
Florida's Human and Rehabilitative Services division approved a detailed corrective-action plan in October, "but a lot of these things are not going to be done overnight," Kurtz said.
When the four-person survey team showed up unannounced, however, "you could tell by their attitude that, `Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind's made up, I'm here to decertify you,'*" Kurtz said.
He said the surveyors took a frank internal assessment of the problems and turned it against the hospital instead of crediting it with taking action, said Kurtz, who came out of retirement to take over the facility.