June 21, 2018
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Building woes, patient privacy among deficiencies found at Rockport hospital

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKPORT, Maine — An inspection of Pen Bay Medical Center by state officials in May found that the hospital was in substantial compliance with federal Medicare regulations. However, the examination also uncovered numerous deficiencies in building safety codes and some patient privacy matters.

The chief administrator of the hospital said that the deficiencies found in the inspection have been corrected except for some of the building issues, which will be completed in the next several months.

The inspection by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid was conducted in late May after Pen Bay reported the unexpected death of a patient in January. The hospital was found not to be at fault in that death.

Two weeks after the inspection, DHHS informed the hospital that it was in substantial compliance with federal rules.

Included in the inspection, however, was a report by the state fire marshal’s office which found that the hospital was not in compliance with the National Fire Protection Life Safety Codes that are required for participation in the Medicare/Medicaid programs.

Many of the deficiencies in the fire safety codes concerned doors that did not close and latch properly, requirements designed to prevent fires from spreading.

The fire inspection also found that there was no fire alarm in the trailer attached to the hospital where the MRI machine is operated and no policy on notifying staff or patients if the alarm in the hospital is activated.

At the affiliated Pen Bay Pediatrics, located in a separate building in Rockport, the state found that the sprinkler system had not been serviced for more than four years. Fire safety code requires annual servicing.

Another area where deficiencies were found concerned privacy of patient records.

A cart filled with medical charts of patients scheduled for surgeries was left in a doorway next to a public bathroom, according to the report.

The DHHS staff also found that the room where medical records are kept is not locked, and staffers are not present when the cleaning crew does its work.

The inspection also found expired medications in the emergency department and at Pen Bay Internal Medicine, a separate office building operated by PBMC.

Mark Biscone, the chief executive officer for Pen Bay Healthcare and executive director of Waldo County Healthcare, said that all the deficiencies except for some of the building ones have been corrected. The remaining building issues will be corrected in the next several months. He said the hospital has submitted a correction plan to the state, and it has been accepted.

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