ROCKPORT, Maine — An inspection last week of Pen Bay Medical Center, after it filed a report in January about an unexpected death of a patient, found that the hospital was not at fault and was meeting federal safety requirements.
Details of the death of the patient are not being released, but John Martins, communications director for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, said Wednesday that the hospital reported the “unexpected death” of a patient to the division of licensing and regulatory services within DHHS on Jan. 28, a day after the death.
The state licensing division conducted an initial inspection, under the direction of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.The state recommended, based on its inspection, that a full inspection be done to determine whether the emergency department was in substantial compliance with the conditions that hospitals must adhere to in order to participate in the federal Medicare program.
That three-day inspection by a team of nine people from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was completed May 29. Mark Biscone, the interim chief executive officer for Pen Bay Medical Center, said the inspection team found that the hospital passed “with flying colors.” The final report is expected to be issued to the hospital in a few weeks.
A spokeswoman for the federal agency said that the report can be released publicly after the hospital receives it and the hospital has time to respond to any issues raised.
Biscone said that the inspection determined that the death of the patient, while unexpected, was not the fault of the hospital. He said he informed hospital staff after the inspection of how proud he was of their work.
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 Martins. 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.
Biscone also pointed out Wednesday that hospitals are inspected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services every three years, and Pen Bay was due for one soon, although facilities are not informed before the arrival of the inspectors.