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Report: Jefferson Hills hospital fails to disclose infections

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By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Jefferson Regional Medical Center failed to promptly report 38 cases of hospital-acquired infections to the state Patient Safety Authority, according to the state Health Department.

A 17-page report the agency posted online this weekend says inspectors found that during two months this year, the hospital failed to report infections within 24 hours, as required under state law, and failed to promptly inform the 38 affected patients.

The report concluded that the 373-bed Jefferson Hills facility was out of compliance with licensing rules.

The hospital implemented a plan to remedy administrative deficiencies the report noted, Jefferson spokeswoman Candy Williams said in an e-mailed response to questions.

"Jefferson Regional Medical Center is fully licensed, and at no point has the license been in jeopardy," Williams said.

Records from May and September showed no documentation of when officials reported the 38 cases as required under MCARE, the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act. The law requires reporting of serious medical events within 24 hours of their detection and says hospital officials must notify affected patients within seven days of confirmation.

The licensure inspection took place Nov. 1.

The inspectors said Jefferson employees told them they were unaware of the requirement to report serious events that compromise patient safety within 24 hours and that they fell behind in filing required reports in May.

The inspectors cited Jefferson for failing to conduct criminal background checks on new employees who were likely to have contact with children. The checks are required under a Pennsylvania law that took effect July 1, 2008.

The report states 11 records for employees hired after that date did not show the required checks. In its corrective plan, Jefferson promised to conduct reviews on current and future employees.

The report also cited Jefferson for failing to obtain informed consent from patients who underwent invasive procedures performed by a radiological assistant. Williams said hospital employees obtained consent but did not always document that.

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