The CMS has terminated its contract with Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles, effective Aug. 15, citing significant problems that continue to plague the troubled hospital. Conditions at the facility have placed the health and safety of patients at great risk, the CMS said in a written statement. The $200 million CMS contract was crucial to the hospitals survival, making up half its operating budget. A 13-member team performed a five-day unannounced make-or-break inspection at the hospital in July. Detailed results of that survey were expected to be announced by hospital and Los Angeles County health officials at a news conference post-deadline on Aug. 10. The hospitals emergency room and inpatient services, now down to 48 beds, will close, according to a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services who added that the hospitals urgent-care center and outpatient clinics will remain open. Los Angeles County officials have developed a contingency plan for the hospital to minimize any negative impact to the community, CMS Acting Deputy Administrator Herb Kuhn said in a written statement.
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has asked HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt for data on how the CMS is enforcing a provision of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that requires insurance companies to provide basic coverage for individuals leaving a group health plan. Kennedy, who serves as chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, asked in a letter for information concerning complaints submitted to (CMS) alleging violations of provisions of (HIPAA) that guarantee portability of health insurance benefits.
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