When the story was initially made public in August, the hospital claimed that the misidentification “took place outside of our hospital and did not involve our employees’’ and that staff “followed proper protocols."
Investigators determined this was untrue, however, and that the surgeon had attributed a CT scan showing a large tumor to the wrong patient. The patient who was subjected to the unnecessary surgery had not had a CT scan done at all.
Now, the hospital has been warned that their Medicare and Medicaid contracts will be terminated December 12 unless they take “corrective action.” It is unclear what that action would entail.
“The department expects the hospital to take immediate steps to address the findings of the investigation and will continue to monitor follow-up through unannounced inspections,” the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement.
The hospital has released a statement saying the mistake was a “deeply unfortunate situation” and that they will be taking “all necessary steps” to prevent another massive error like this in the future.
“We are working to implement enhanced safeguards as identified in the [Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services] survey, including additional verification steps with physicians,’’ the hospital’s statement said. “This was a deeply unfortunate situation and we will take all steps necessary to prevent it from happening again.”
During the investigation, the state Department of Public Health found three other instances of patient misidentification at the hospital.