Harrison Medical Center threatened with Medicare termination

BREMERTON — Following a complaint by a former patient, Harrison Medical Center may soon lose its participation in the Medicare program.

A letter dated March 15 to Harrison CEO Scott Bosch, states the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found the hospital failed to enforce policies to ensure compliance with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act and failed to provide an appropriate medical screening examination.

Unless a plan of correction is submitted to and accepted by CMS, the hospital's Medicare program will be terminated.

According to the letter, it is recommended the plan of correction is submitted "no later than April 14, 2012. The plan of correction must be submitted to both CMS and state survey agency.

The investigation into the hospital’s practices followed a complaint by Joseph and Debra Snowden to the Department of Health & Human Services. The Snowdens were taken to Harrison after a car crash on Hansville Road Dec. 30. After being treated at Harrison, Mrs. Snowden had to have an emergency operation four days later because she was bleeding internally and had four broken ribs and a fractured sternum. Mr. Snowden had a smashed right foot, which was not recognized, he said. He later had reconstructive surgery.

“My wife almost died,” Mr. Snowden said. “Had we not returned, the surgeon told me she would have died that night.”

The Snowdens are self-employed. Their medical bill is about $200,000, Mr. Snowden said. The couple has not been able to work since December after the collision, and are “getting around by the graces of our friends.” Mr. Snowden said it is now his mission to spread the word about his experience. He won’t stop until somebody is found accountable, he said.

“I’m not going to sit here and get s--- on,” he said. “Something needs to be done.”

Harrison Medical Center was surveyed Feb. 8 by the Washington Department of Health based on an allegation of non-compliance with requirements of 42 Code of Federal Regulations.

Because the notice has not been made public, CMS could not comment Thursday, except to confirm that Harrison was placed on a termination track, CMS employee Stephanie Magill said.

Calls to Harrison officials were not returned by press time.

If the hospital does lose its Medicare coverage, the hospital will receive a “Notice of Termination” letter no later than May 29, according to a letter to Bosch.

— This version corrects the date of CMS employee Stephanie Magill's comments in the third to the last paragraph.

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