The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services said it expects a recent investigation of 330-bed Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif., to result in a citation of immediate jeopardy because of overcrowding and delays in the hospitals emergency department. A patients death on Dec. 22, 2007, led to the investigation, according to the county health department. On Feb. 1, state inspectors completed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act investigation on behalf of the CMS, and the CMS is now reviewing their findings, said Jack Cheevers, an agency spokesman in San Francisco.
Because of the seriousness of the case, the review will be done expeditiously, Cheevers said. After that, the hospital has to submit a plan of correction. We also have to decide what, if any, penalty will be imposed on hospital.
Harbor-UCLA has remained open and is concentrating on triage and reassessment functions, according to a written statement from Bruce Chernof, director and chief medical officer at the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. The department will finalize and submit a plan of correction once specific written findings have been provided, Chernof said in the statement. In the meantime, the hospital has taken immediate steps to address overcrowding, which is a chronic problem faced by hospitals across the country.
Last summer, the CMS terminated its contract with Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles, citing significant problems there. -- by Jessica Zigmond
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