Needles, CA: Needles City Council discusses an complaint regarding Colorado River Medical Center.

By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):

Source: City of Needles’ City Clerk’s Office (Information):

Needles, California: Members of the Needles City Council discussed an complaint regarding Colorado River Medical Center during their meeting held on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011.

A power point presentation for Agenda Item #1 was presented by Interim CEO Mark Uffer on Colorado River Medical Center.

Uffer talked to the City Council about an complaint that was called on the hospital and what happen after.

The state came by to the hospital on Friday, February 18th, 2011; a complaint driven survey, which means filed by an anonymous person in relates to something that may have been going on at the hospital.

The team from the state spend 3 hours looking at both the building and hospital nursing practices and ratios.

The state again returned to the hospital on Thursday, February 24th, 2011; looking at the same things as the first visit; during this visit the team from the state spend above 6 hours at the hospital.

After those days of visiting, the state placed the facility on an, “Immediate Jeopardy”.

An “Immediate Jeopardy” means that the hospital was going to close; the hospital would have nothing to say about it and if the hospital don’t comply to their wishes at that moment in time, the hospital would be out of business.

Hospital staff address the states concerns and it was all because how the hospital staffing; in the Med Search Unit and the many nurses staffed at one time were some of the reasons.

The state was unsympathetic that the hospital was a rural hospital and the number of people working there; they just wanted their requirements met.

Hospital staff corrected the problem on February 24th, 2011; the hospital though they were done with the state but the state once again revisited the hospital a week later from March 2nd to March 4th, 2011; they spend 3 days at the hospital and brought more surveyors with them.

The surveyors survey the hospital on 5 of the 15 condition and of those 5 conditions, we were out of compliance on all 5 of those conditions.

Uffer stated before that this was this was the number one risk factor for this hospital or for anyone. The biggest risk, has come true.

Uffer spend most of the day with the surveyors on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 and the hospital was able to get off of the, “Immediate Jeopardy” the following day; meaning they weren’t going to close the hospital but will continue to do survey on the hospital.

Another meeting was held that Friday afternoon of March 4th, 2011 and gave a two pages of out of compliance; from nurse staffing to documentation; a list of things the hospital have to fix.

The surveyors told Uffer that there will be another full validated survey on the hospital in the near future and will be surveying the hospital on 15 conditions of participation, which means there is no margin for error and we the hospital have to be ready for it.

The hospital is working hard on getting those items listed on that two page list fix as soon as possible.

Another problem for the hospital was related to money and the collecting of it to the hospital when it was time for payment; hospital doing a lot of work but not being paid for it.
In June of 2010; when the new payroll company was changed, tax identification number was changed.

Someone changed it and not informed the insurance companies about it; you send them a bill, the insurance companies don’t know who to pay. Money on hold because of that change that is owed to the hospital. The problem has been resolved and the insurance companies have been notified. Example given; $240,000 is owed back to the hospital from Medicaid AHCCCS out of Arizona.

The hospital is also looking into charges that aren’t being made when a patient is given something or has something done to them; one patient Uffer told the council didn’t get charged for a cat.

Also; because when the state came in, Uffer said two license people on the unit at all times; two nurses must be on the floor. That has increase cost to do business for the hospital.

At the end; Uffer said that because of whoever called the state on the hospital, it has cause great harm to the hospital when money flow is down and when we the hospital have problems that need to be fix to move this hospital forward, but has made it more difficult for this hospital to survive. State mandates that have to be followed or the hospital would be shut down; which means more money needing to be use.

Uffer said because of all this, there is an inability or reluctant in my part to move the organization forward until this gets fix; can’t fixing old equipment such as the hospital’s scanner, can’t repairing needed parts of the hospital such as the roof; that might have to be delayed, and can’t do an guarantee income for new doctors who want to work here; not now.
Legal fees so far spend amount of $100,000; to sell the hospital; money that can be use on the hospital.

Bad time for the hospital; the employees are hard working and dedicated to working here at the hospital. But everyone is in a fire fight for their lives.

Uffer said he will not have this go down on his watch; not letting these problems take down the hospital.

For more information, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at the City of Needles at: 1 (760) 326-2113 #345.

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