UT Medical Center leaders expressed pride and confidence Thursday as Ohio Department of Health evaluators completed a four-day evaluation of the hospital on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
“This was one of the most rigorous external reviews I’ve experienced, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of the way our staff prepared for the visit and performed while evaluators were here,” said Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs, and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.
“I’m grateful to you and I’m proud of you,” said UT President Lloyd Jacobs. “The results from these last four days once again show that UTMC is an organization deeply committed to patients and deeply committed to patient safety. There are some areas the surveyors asked us to address and we will, but once again you showed why this is one of the best hospitals anywhere.”
During their four days on campus, site evaluators conducted an exhaustive review, going from unit to unit. Out of the 1,000 standards and millions of patient interactions that occurred during the evaluation, Gold said the list of citations identified by the evaluators was very brief and most items were corrected before the site team left Thursday.
Among the citations were small holes in several firewalls above the ceiling where smoke might have penetrated in case of a fire; a deadbolt lock on a door was removed; new concrete was added to ensure a piece of sidewalk was wheelchair accessible; a light switch that was required to be five feet off the ground was cited for being four feet off the ground; and one microwave was found to have pieces of food in it.
“Every facility fix requested was completed, documented by photograph, and emailed to the surveyors before they left on Thursday,” Gold said. “We are a learning hospital and are always trying to improve. Even though this list of issues is brief, we take them all seriously, and we’re working every day to become a stronger institution.”
The Ohio Department of Health will forward their comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which will then send a report to UT Medical Center, Gold said. UTMC will respond to that report, correct any errors of fact, and ultimately establish a plan of correction for any items that may remain.
Gold also noted that there are inconsistencies between requirements for the various regulatory bodies that oversee health-care organizations, a fact Gold said he highlighted to the Ohio Department of Health evaluators.
“For example, the Joint Commission indicates that operating room humidity levels of 20 percent are within accepted norms, while Centers for Medicare and Medicaid guidelines assert it cannot be lower than 35 percent. We were asked to apply for a ‘variance or waiver’ to address areas where regulatory agencies establish conflicting requirements,” Gold said.
“The University of Toledo Medical Center has faced some challenges during the last several months, but what has never wavered is the commitment of every person in this hospital to improve the lives of our patients every day,” said Norma Tomlinson, UTMC interim executive director.
“The surveyors were very impressed with the detailed knowledge of our staff,” Tomlinson said. “It’s been a tough process, but celebrating a positive outcome with colleagues so committed to patients makes it all worth it. We are all ambassadors for UTMC, and this makes us so very proud!”