By Jim Beasley
photo above: Shelly B. Kelly, Yolanda Holloman, Tamara Grant, Barbara Brague and MaryJo Rooue
Sometimes, regulating leads to the need for swift action.
Emergency actions taken by DHEC Health Regulations staff following an unannounced complaint investigation at an ambulatory surgery center have earned recognition from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Their efforts also exemplified the agency’s core value of promoting teamwork.
It was April 2015 when registered nurses Tamara Grant and Yolanda Holloman from DHEC’s Bureau of Certification visited a site and found that the facility was placing its patients in “Immediate Jeopardy,” the formal term for a crisis situation in which the health and safety of individuals are at risk. Serious violations were found, including practices covering infection control and surgical services.
The team collaborated with the Bureau of Health Facilities Licensing and the Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology, finding several areas at the facility requiring an urgent plan of correction. Bureau of Health Facilities Licensing staff referred the center’s medical director for review by another state agency, while Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology staff conducted a contact investigation of patients and collaborated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional guidance.
Barbara Brague, a registered nurse with the Bureau of Certification, helped guide the inspectors in the field during a situation that proved a challenging experience for all. She interacted with the other DHEC bureaus and worked closely with the CMS regional office to determine whether the facility’s correction plan was acceptable.
DHEC surveyors conducted follow-up inspections in May and June 2015 to verify that corrections were made and to ensure the facility complied with federal regulations and conditions.
This shining example of cooperation and collaboration among bureaus demonstrates the importance of communication across the agency and with our partners.
Congratulations to all staff involved in this extraordinary effort for helping to protect the health and safety of patients. The award is well-deserved.