Report: PRMC cited for 13 violations

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ Staff Writer

Plains Regional Medical Center officials breached federal regulations regarding administering drugs, disposal of medical waste and documenting quality control, according to a federal report issued after a February inspection of the hospital.

The Clovis hospital was found to be deficient in 13 federal requirements for hospitals, according to the report, obtained this week by the Clovis News Journal through the Freedom of Information Act.

Deficiencies included the improper disposal of infectious waste and inadequate training for contracted service providers. Also, registered nurses at the hospital administered sedatives without proper training, and restraint of patients was insufficiently documented. Discharge procedures for patients were also deemed deficient in the report, and meals served at the hospital were not in accordance with nutrition standards set by physicians.

But the number of deficiencies at PRMC is minimal when compared to the number found at other hospitals that have been inspected due to complaints, according to Tony Salters, a federal spokesperson for the agency that issued the report, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

A spokesperson from PRMC’s parent company, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, said the cause of the deficiencies “was really immaterial to preventing it from happening again.”

“I don’t want to make any excuses,” Presbyterian spokesperson Todd Sandman said.

“Going back to describe the motive gets us away from the solution. It is only important to go forward and say what is the standard and how can we meet it every time.”

PRMC administrator Brian Bentley, PRMC Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Hudson and board member Allan Haynes all resigned from their positions about the time the New Mexico Department of Health inspected the hospital in February.

A woman who answered the phone Tuesday at Bentley’s home said he declined to comment on the contents of the report or his reasons for his resignation.

Hudson and Haynes could not be reached for comment this week, but both have said they left the board for personal reasons not related to the inspection.

The federal assessments of PRMC were based on interviews, record reviews and observations. Inspections officials randomly sampled patient records to assess performance at the hospital.

As a result of the findings, leaders of the hospital and executive officials were critiqued in the report.

A four-day, full scale inspection of PRMC was launched on May 6 as a result of the February inspection. Both inspections were conducted by the New Mexico Department of Health on behalf of CMS. It is likely the hospital will have to create an action plan in response to the second inspection, PRMC officials have said.

“The good news for our patients is CMS came back and did a top to bottom inspection of the hospital. We have had very positive feedback that they were satisfied that we had corrected the initial deficiencies,” Sandman said.

PRMC officials said some of the paperwork and processing issues identified in the initial survey linger, but are being handled. A report of the full survey of the hospital will be available to the public 60 days after it has been filed at CMS, Salters said.

Inspections of hospitals by regulatory agencies are a routine part of the health care industry, PRMC and federal health officials have said. The initial inspection of the hospital, however, was triggered by a complaint. The report did not say who filed the complaint.

“We are pleased at the progress we have made since the original findings,” Sandman said.

“PRMC is going to be a better hospital because of this process.”

Hoyt Skabelund, 37, of Socorro, will take over as hospital administrator in late June.

PRMC, which is owned by Presbyterian Healthcare Services, serves more than 110,000 people living within a 100-mile radius of the city of Clovis, according to its Web site.