Health Facilities:

Problems at Harlem Hospital in Complying With Medicare Standards

HRD-87-58: Published: Feb 20, 1987. Publicly Released: Feb 20, 1987.

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GAO reviewed the Harlem Hospital Center's compliance with Medicare Program standards and the actions the New York State Health Department and the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) took in response to deficiencies in the hospital.

GAO noted that in June 1986, New York fined the hospital for violating state standards and, as a result, HCFA directed the state to monitor the hospital's actions to correct its deficiencies. GAO found that: (1) by November 1986, the hospital had corrected most of the deficiencies except in the areas of nursing care and building cleanliness and safety; (2) as of January 1987, the hospital still had not fully complied with the requirement to review medical staff credentials and complete medical records for all patients; (3) the hospital's most recent accreditation was contingent on its ability to correct inadequate monitoring and evaluation of quality care in special care units; (4) state inspections found persistent deficiencies in hospital building maintenance, records management, medical and nursing staff, and dietary and social work departments; and (5) the recurrence of these deficiencies has caused actual or potential patient harm. GAO also found that: (1) the state plans to continue unannounced monitoring of the hospital to determine whether it is implementing a corrective action plan; and (2) if HCFA determines that the hospital did not make a good effort to correct the deficiencies, it will terminate the hospital from the Medicare program.

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