Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bad News fror Ottumwa Regional

Excerpted from the Ottumwa Courier

Medicare will cut off Ottumwa Regional Health Center on Aug. 11, even if the hospital appeals the decision.

Thomas Lenz, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Kansas City, said that hospitals have 60 days to indicate they will appeal termination decisions. The appeal does not freeze the clock, though.

"Whenever there is an adverse action taken ... the provider has an opportunity to appeal that determination. They have 60 days to indicate their desire to appeal the action that was taken. But in all cases it does not stop that action from moving forward. So our termination date of Aug. 11 is still there," Lenz said in an interview with The Courier Friday.

That leaves the hospital with few options for preventing the Medicare cutoff. John Webber, ORHC's legal counsel, said the hospital might seek a court injunction against termination if necessary.

Lenz' comments contradicted hospital officials' earlier statements that the termination date came as a surprise. The initial complaint came in early April and spurred a fast response.

"It was considered an immediate, serious risk to beneficiaries' health and safety," Lenz said. "At that point in time the hospital was placed on a 23-day correction plan or termination track."


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