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North Bay Business Journal

Thursday, December 5, 2013, 12:05 pm

Queen of the Valley delays Herman Pavilion opening

Reporting on accidental death, implementing electronic health records key to delay

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    Queen of the Valley Herman Family Pavilion

    Queen of the Valley Herman Family Pavilion

    NAPA — Queen of the Valley Medical Center said it will delay the opening of its $122 million Herman Family Pavilion addition that was poised to open this month, in response to a self-reported compliance issue with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid as well as its looming implementation of electronic medical records.

    The 191-bed hospital said it reported the accidental death of a 59-year-old Medicare patient last April, which may have resulted from certain decisions by hospital staff. That subsequently spurred a resource-intensive survey by CMS that is expected to be completed within the next few months, according to the hospital.

    In addition, the St. Joseph Health–owned hospital is also working to meet a February 2014 deadline of full implementation of a Meditech electronic medical records system. The two issues together forced the hospital to delay the opening of the pavilion, which the hospital said was the easiest matter to temporarily put aside.

    Exactly when the pavilion will now open is not clear, but hospital officials said they are confident it would be early spring in 2014.

    In a statement, hospital CEO Walt Mickens said Queen of the Valley voluntarily reported the accidental death, though he did not reveal specifics.

    “In keeping with our commitment to a culture of integrity, active compliance and the delivery of the highest-quality care, we self-reported an event to the California Department of Public Health earlier this year,” Mr. Mickens said. “We are now awaiting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services acceptance of a detailed plan we created showing the steps we are taking to ensure full compliance regarding this issue. We expect CMS surveyors to return within the next month or two to assess the changes we have made. We are optimistic CMS will be satisfied with our efforts.

    “A survey, however, is resource-intensive,” the statement continued. “This is true for any hospital in the country.”

    The delay on the pavilion won’t impact project costs, because construction is essentially complete, according to hospital spokeswoman Vanessa deGier.

    “The pavilion is basically ready to go. It won’t add costs because we’re just moving services,” she said. “Our hope is that the CMS review will be resolved within the next month. Meditech will be up Feb. 1st and we can bet back to the pavilion immediately after that.”

    The three-story pavilion will have six suites for operations, 16 pre- and postoperation bays, 20 private intensive care rooms and a clinical and pathology laboratory that can add space as needed.

    It will also contain what the hospital, a level 3 trauma center, said is the region’s first “hybrid” operating room — an OR suite with the most advanced imaging capability available. The imaging system provides surgeons and radiologists with real-time imaging that will aid them during the most difficult of surgeries, including cancer, heart and brain procedures, according to the hospital.

    Hospital officials sought to assure residents that it will work to correct any issues related to the accidental death.

    “We are deeply sorry for any incident involving a patient where an error occurs, particularly if an error contributes to the injury or death of a patient,” it said in a statement. “ When an error is identified, we act swiftly and with great determination to implement corrective measures that safeguard against recurrence of this error.

    “We deeply regret that we recently had an incident occur.  We proactively self-reported this incident because we believed we did not provide the high-quality and safe care for which we are known.

    “We believe transparency and accountability in health care are critical to providing a safe environment for all patients. We remain committed to working towards continual improvement and providing excellent care to anyone who turns to us.”

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