One month after Detroit Medical Center received a clean bill of health on violations in infection control of surgical instruments, the CMS and Medicaid Services and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs have launched a new investigation.
DMC now faces another round of inspections that could lead to possible expulsion from the Medicare program, which could cost the investor-owned hospital system hundreds of millions in federal and state Medicare and Medicaid funds.
"This morning, LARA in conjunction with the Joint Commission, a CMS-approved accreditation organization, began an unannounced inspection of the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) hospitals (Children's Hospital of Michigan, Harper University Hospital, Detroit Receiving Hospital) and Karmanos Cancer Center due to new allegations involving unsterilized surgical equipment on the midtown campus," according to an e-mailed statement from LARA.
"The LARA and Joint Commission teams are conducting investigations on behalf of CMS. The federal investigations into this matter are now ongoing."
Prompted by a six-month investigation and Aug. 26 report by The Detroit News, state and federal regulators found a variety problems at DMC's downtown sterile processing department that serves four hospitals. They included DMC's Detroit Receiving, Harper University, Hutzel Women's and Children's hospitals. Karmanos Cancer Institute was not previously targeted by inspectors.
Officials for LARA, which is leading the investigation, declined further comment. The DMC, CMS and Joint Commission have not yet responded to requests for comment.
Last December, the state inspection report concluded that DMC had satisfactorily corrected more than a dozen violations of regulations covering employee and management training problems, lack of documentation and various infection control practices.
However, earlier this month The Detroit News reported that another dirty surgical tool was intercepted before a surgery last December. DMC waited several weeks before reporting the incident to LARA.
The News said a laparoscopic grasper caked with old blood was marked as sterile and delivered to a Children's Hospital of Michigan operating room for pediatric surgeon Scott Langenburg, M.D. The instrument was intercepted and replaced before it could be used during gall bladder surgery, The News said.