MOUNT VERNON, Ill.-A southern Illinois hospital agreed late last month to pay $15,000 to settle patient-dumping allegations with HHS' inspector general. In May, 126-bed St. Mary's Good Samaritan in Mount Vernon, which is owned by SSM Health Care, resolved allegations that it violated the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act by diverting a patient seeking emergency treatment. The inspector general alleged that St. Mary's refused to accept a patient in November 2002 complaining of rectal bleeding and diverted the ambulance to another hospital. The law prohibits patient dumping. The maximum fine for a hospital of St. Mary's size is $50,000, however the inspector general settled for $15,000 because the hospital "immediately implemented a comprehensive corrective action plan." Officials at St. Mary's did not return calls by deadline.
SUMMIT, Wis.-Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee, said last month that it would move ahead with plans for an 88-bed, $85 million hospital in Summit after the adjacent city of Oconomowoc agreed not to block the facility. Aurora sued the city and its council members in 2002 in Waukesha County (Wis.) Circuit Court after Oconomowoc rezoned the land Aurora planned to build on. In a 5-3 vote, Oconomowoc City Council members agreed to take no action against Aurora's plans, suspending the lawsuit. The 12-hospital system will seek state approval to build the hospital a few hundred yards away from the original site. The plan still is expected to face opposition from ProHealth Care, which operates two hospitals in Waukesha County.