Hey everyone, I’m Alex Hoeft, news reporter for Moonshine Ink. Today’s minutes focus on an important update to an investigative piece we did back in August, titled Dementia Discharge. That piece looks into an ongoing situation involving a man named Bill Borden, who was housed up until April of this year in Tahoe Forest Hospital’s extended care facility with his wife of 55 years. Since then, Borden has been removed from the facility and placed in the surgical unit against the family’s wishes. Multiple California state agencies have ruled that the hospital needs to return him to the long-term care facility, and now, with this latest update, so has the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
On Sept. 15, the CMS issued its own findings on what events have taken place, as well as an imposition of remedies. With the report, the following additional penalties have been imposed on Tahoe Forest Hospital:
First, a civil penalty of $225 per day will be assessed in backcharges since April 22, and continuing forward until the CMS deems appropriate. Through Sept. 29, that total amounts to over $36,000.
Second, CMS ordered a denial of Medicare payments for new admissions, effective Sept. 8.
And thirdly, the agency will withdraw nurse aide training and evaluation programs.
In the Sept. 15 e-notice addressed to Harry Weis, president and CEO of Tahoe Forest Hospital, the CMS required an acceptable plan of correction for the recognized deficiencies by Friday, Sept. 25. Moonshine is not aware yet whether an acceptable plan was submitted. Without an approved plan, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can terminate the hospital’s Medicare and Medicaid participation.
The notice stated to the hospital, in part: “If such substantial compliance is not achieved and maintained, you will be informed by future notice of the exact date of termination. You are reminded that Congress has mandated that under no circumstances will termination of a facility be effective later than six months from the last day of the survey documenting the facility’s failure to be in substantial compliance … In this case, since the survey in question was completed on June 8, 2020, under no circumstances will the termination be effective later than Dec. 8, 2020. It is emphasized, however, that the termination date may be implemented sooner (after proper notice).”
The hospital or its legal representative is allowed to appeal the imposition, and may request a hearing before the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (which houses the CMS).
Moonshine Ink reached out to the hospital and its board for comment, and received the following from Board Chairwoman Alyce Wong: “On behalf of the board of directors of the Tahoe Forest Health System, we cannot comment on this inquiry as it is a pending legal matter, nor would we comment on any patient care publicly. The board has been apprised of the situation and continues to support the health and safety of all patients, residents and employees.”
Read the full update on our website, as well as the original piece. It’s all there at moonshineink.com.