Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today asked the CMS how it planned to ensure the safety of patients at the Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles.
The hospital had been cited for providing poor care, and news reports have said that at least one patient may have died from neglect. Edith Rodriguez, 43, collapsed in the emergency room of the hospital last month and died after not receiving help.
In a letter to CMS Acting Administrator Leslie Norwalk, Baucus specifically asked how the CMS would ensure compliance with Medicare conditions of participation at the hospital.
The horrific stories coming out of this facility are appalling and wholly unacceptable to me, Baucus said. No matter who they are or where they live, Medicare and Medicaid patientsand all patientsshould have access to safe and effective healthcare. I will not stand for Medicaid and Medicare dollars being spent on substandard care.
The public facility, which serves many low-income communities, has been sanctioned by both state and local health officials in recent weeks. In his letter, Baucus noted that previous efforts by the CMS as well as state and local efforts to help correct the standard of care at the hospital, have failed.
The CMS earlier this week had announced that the hospital would have 23 days to submit a plan of correction or lose Medicare certification. A plan to improve conditions at the hospital will be released soon, a hospital spokeswoman said. -- by Jennifer Lubell