ROCKPORT, Maine — An inspection done last month of Pen Bay Medical Center after the unexpected death of a patient in January found that the hospital was in substantial compliance with federal standards that allow it to participate in the Medicare program.
“Your hospital is no longer under state survey agency inspection,” stated a June 16 letter to the hospital from Elaine Soong, a health insurance specialist in the certification and enforcement branch for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The inspection completed May 29 was done on behalf of the federal agency by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. A report sent to Pen Bay by DHHS, however, pointed out deficiencies related to Medicare standards.
Since the hospital was found in substantial compliance, however, Pen Bay is not required to file a plan to correct those unspecified deficiencies.
The deficiencies are not listed in the letter to Pen Bay but are included in a separate report that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid will release in 30 days in order to give Pen Bay time to respond.
Mark Biscone, the interim chief executive officer of Pen Bay, said Tuesday that the hospital will file a plan of corrections for deficiencies found, even though it is not required by DHHS. He said he expects it to be submitted in two weeks.
“Many of the deficiencies cited were corrected during the survey,” Biscone said. “Conditions of participation and the deficiencies found were ones that are normally discovered when a survey team of 12 individuals review a facility from top to bottom for three to four days.”
He said Pen Bay would provide the list publicly once it comes up with the list of corrections for the remaining issues.
The inspection was prompted after Pen Bay reported an unexpected death of a patient in January. Biscone said last month that the hospital was not at fault and was meeting federal safety requirements.
Details of the death of the patient are not being released. Hospitals are required to report unexpected deaths of patients.
An unexpected death is defined by the state as a death “unrelated to the natural course of the patient’s illness or underlying condition or proper treatment of that illness or underlying condition in a health facility.”
Pen Bay treated nearly 22,000 patients in its emergency department in 2012, the latest year for which published information is available.
There were 38 unexpected deaths reported by all medical facilities in Maine to the division of licensing in 2013, according to DHHS. There were 36 in 2012, 61 in 2011, 60 in 2010, 25 in 2009, 31 in 2008 and 20 in 2007.
Pen Bay Medical Center was one of 67 hospitals, from nearly 1,200 across the United States analyzed by the Leapfrog Group, to receive a top hospital honor in 2012.