Memorial Hospital of Salem County (N.J.), which is about to be sold for $35 million to Community Health Systems, Brentwood, Tenn., has agreed to pay a $1 million civil monetary penalty to resolve allegations it failed to report missing prescription drugs as required by drug enforcement laws. Earlier this year, the New Jersey health department ordered the 108-bed not-for-profit hospital to stop admitting patients for one day, citing problems with sanitation, patient safety, infection control and clinical documentation. The hospital later passed a state inspection with flying colors but subsequently discovered problems in its accounting for drugs. Memorial interim President and CEO Thomas McGoff said federal investigators did not identify theft, just poor accounting and documentation. "The truth is, we don't know what happened to (the drugs)," McGoff said. Memorial will be the first New Jersey hospital to convert to for-profit status under a new state law governing such transactions. Its sale to Community Health is expected to be completed Oct. 1. "One of our major goals was to get this resolved and settled before the purchase was completed," McGoff said. "This had nothing to do with the new buyer." The drug management problem isn't the first time Memorial has faced federal scrutiny. Last year its former president and CEO, Joseph Michael Galvin Jr., was sentenced to a five-month prison term and ordered to pay restitution of $117,729 after pleading guilty to failing to report fraudulent personal expenses. -- by Mark Taylor
Soon-to-be-sold N.J. hospital settles legal issue
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.