April 25, 2000
Agreement Reached to keep Tacoma Hospital Open
Charges have not been dismissed, however
Olympia, WA (SafetyAlerts) - An agreement reached
today between the state Department of Health and Puget Sound Hospital will allow the
hospital to stay open and immediately resume admitting patients.
An administrative law judge rescinded the
"Summary Suspension" order this morning after the Department and Puget Sound
Hospital reached an agreement on immediate and long term remedies dealing with hospital
sanitation and security issues.
"We are convinced that our immediate concerns
have been successfully addressed by Puget Sound Hospital," according to Gary Bennett,
director of Facilities and Services Licensing for the Department of Health. "The
hospital has been aggressive in coming up with solutions and we are confident that the
public can be assured that they will receive safe, high quality care at this
The hospital will take several steps to deal with
sanitation and security problems. It has discarded all of the supplies in the central
supply room where sanitation issues existed. The supply room has been moved to another
floor in the hospital and all new supplies are being purchased. An outside pest control
agency will perform daily pest inspections for the next month and the hospital will also
implement a long-term pest control program.
To tighten security at the facility, the Puget
Sound Hospital will install a surveillance camera, hire more security guards, add new
locks and change existing locks in the operating room area, purchase lockable anesthetic
carts, and modify its key control processes. The hospital has also changed policies with
respect to escorting patients in certain areas of the facility.
Department investigators inspected the hospital
yesterday to verify that the immediate remedies had been put in place and that long-term
solutions are moving forward. The hospital has agreed to address system concerns by
bringing in outside consultants in the areas of quality improvement, infection control,
and medication management.
The agreement does not rescind the statement of charges that was the basis for the order. That remains
in place for the time being. The hospital will need to implement the consultants
recommendations before the Department of Health will consider a final agreement to resolve
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