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ALLEGED SEX ASSAULT

Flower chief calls Sylvania hospital secure, ‘safe’

Federal report says staff didn’t react fast enough

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    An alleged rape in the psychiatric ward put ProMedica Flower Hospital’s federal reimbursements at risk.

    THE BLADE
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  • 09n6flower

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ report accuses ProMedica Flower Hospital of failing to take steps immediately after the alleged sexual assault.

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Editor's Note: The date the investigation team from the Ohio Department of Health was at the hospital was incorrect in the print edition. The team there May 2.

09n6sign

An alleged rape in the psychiatric ward put ProMedica Flower Hospital’s federal reimbursements at risk.

THE BLADE
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Calling ProMedica Flower Hospital “a safe hospital,” President Alan Sattler said Flower has responded to a federal and state investigation with a full action plan that increases security in the psychiatric unit and creates a new security oversight board in the wake of a sexual assault last month that put Medicare and Medicaid funding in jeopardy.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a report Thursday that included details of an alleged April 1 assault in the hospital’s psychiatric unit and the corrective actions being put in place by Flower to ensure this type of incident does not happen again.

“We sincerely apologize for the impact on our patients and their families,” Mr. Sattler said. “We are a safe hospital. This incident has been completely isolated to our psychiatric area. We took immediate action to protect the patient. As soon as we learned of the concerns from CMS, we implemented an action plan.”

Flower officials were notified by the federal agency on April 16 that the hospital was “out of compliance” and they had until May 9 to submit a plan of action to address the systemic problems discovered in the investigation.

It was that citation of “immediate jeopardy” that put the hospital at risk of losing the ability to seek reimbursements from Medicaid and Medicare. The agency’s manual says that when a hospital is cited for “immediate jeopardy,” it means “a situation in which the provider’s noncompliance with one or more requirements of participation has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to a resident.”

Earlier this week, Medicare and Medicaid officials announced that the hospital had submitted a satisfactory plan of action and the “immediate jeopardy” designation had been lifted. The hospital can continue to bill Medicare and Medicaid for services to patients.

09n6flower

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ report accuses ProMedica Flower Hospital of failing to take steps immediately after the alleged sexual assault.

THE BLADE
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Although the federal agency has accepted the action plan submitted by Flower Hospital, its report revealed new details on the alleged April 1 assault and the actions taken by the hospital in the immediate hours and days after the incident.

The report states that hospital staff failed to take appropriate and immediate action to ensure the safety of its patients after the alleged sexual assault occurred. That incident and the hospital’s failure to examine the “root cause” of the attack on one of its patients led to the investigation by state and federal health officials and put in jeopardy the hospital’s access to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for a short time.

“No interventions were implemented to prevent other patients from harm, since the time the hospital learned of the assault on 4/​2/​14,” the report states.

Mr. Sattler said those comments in the report were written before the hospital had a chance to respond to the individual charges and before the action plan was created.

He also took issue with the contention by federal and state health officials that the hospital did not do a thorough analysis to determine systematic problems that contributed to the assault.

He noted that an investigation team from the Ohio Department of Health spent the entire day at the hospital on May 2 reviewing the action plan and the new security measures. “They would not have lifted the immediate jeopardy if they were not satisfied with our answers,” he said.

The federal investigation also brought to light some incidents from the past that caused the health agency to have concerns about patient safety at Flower Hospital.

The report revealed that a staff member reported that an additional sexual assault occurred in Flower’s psychiatric unit about three years ago, in August, 2011.

The report also noted four past incidents when hospital staff failed to complete 15-minute safety checks on patients who had been admitted for suicidal tendencies.

Jesse Lee Buck, 33, of 616 Brighton Ave., who was a patient at the hospital, is accused of assaulting a 21-year-old Toledo woman during the April 1 incident at Flower.

He was indicted Tuesday by a Lucas County grand jury and charged with first-degree felony rape.

According to the federal report, the alleged rape took place in the bathroom inside the room of a third patient who witnessed the incident.

Sylvania police Chief William Rhodus said a hospital employee called police about the attack the next day. No weapon was used.

Tedra White, a ProMedica spokesman, said both patients were lodged on the same floor at the time but were separated after the attack was reported. Both were discharged from the hospital April 11, she said.

Mr. Buck will be arraigned Monday before Judge Stacy Cook in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at mtaylor@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.

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