The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations late last week conducted a survey of 541-bed Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., in response to the May 1 kidnapping and subsequent death of a newborn taken from the hospital's maternity unit.
The hospital has blamed a mechanical failure of its security system for the incident (May 8, p. 24).
Several days after the kidnapping, inspectors from the Illinois Department of Public Health conducted an investigation on behalf of HCFA, which certifies the hospital for Medicare and Medicaid. The state and federal agencies on May 9 notified the hospital in a letter that it would be terminated from Medicare unless it rectified certain problems by May 26.
The hospital said it's now in full compliance with national and state regulations.
On May 10, the day that HCFA's letter made front-page headlines in Chicago newspapers, the JCAHO said, in response to a question from MODERN HEALTHCARE, that it would conduct a "special announced survey" the next day. The agency said it would look at systems around the maternity ward.
The JCAHO has been criticized for making unannounced surveys of hospitals after patient-care disasters become public through the media. Critics say the JCAHO often misses serious issues during regular triennial surveys and tries to make up for it by looking tough after a public outcry.
Loyola was most recently accredited on May 9, 1998.
The Joint Commission said it is also looking at a quality problem at Puget Sound Hospital in Tacoma, Wash. There the state Department of Health on April 26 ordered the hospital to close after signs of rodent and insect infestation were found in sterile areas (May 1, p. 2). The state lifted the order in response to a corrective action plan.
"Our office of quality monitoring is aware of the situation at Puget Sound Hospital and is reviewing it," said Cathy Barry-Ipema, the Joint Commission's director of media relations.
The JCAHO most recently accredited Puget Sound on Aug. 26, 1998.