Originally created 06/28/02

Gracewood must correct training



Federal inspectors who found patients in "immediate jeopardy" at Gracewood State School and Hospital have demanded immediate corrections with the threat of cutting off funding. The institution's CEO, however, said that it was a matter of training and procedure and that he was confident the corrections would be accepted.

Surveyors from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services went to Gracewood on June 20 in response to a complaint, said Joyce Lang, executive assistant to the regional administrator.

Although she could not release some details, she said there was a problem with restraints.

"There were injuries and potential for further harm to residents," Mrs. Lang said.

The problem was with one patient who fell while being held, Gracewood CEO Bruce Callander said.

"It was a broken wrist," he said.

The facility still received an "immediate jeopardy" violation, Mrs. Lang said.

"Immediate jeopardy is one of the strongest kinds of deficiencies a facility can have," Mrs. Lang said. "And that means that they need to correct it immediately to protect the residents."

The institution has until July 13 to come into compliance or lose eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Part of the problem is in outlining what steps are to be taken for patients, including medications, and having that in their treatment plans, Dr. Callander said.

A plan of correction has been submitted and is under review, Mrs. Lang said.

"Most facilities, once they are given this notice of termination, they are able to do whatever it takes to correct their problems and remain open," she said.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tomc@augustachronicle.com.