A state inspection early this year of Prince George's General Hospital revealed numerous deficiencies in several areas, including nursing, medical and food services and medical record keeping, a Maryland health official said yesterday.
But state and county hospital officials said that the hospital had corrected more than half of the violations and should have all of them corrected before a federally imposed deadline of May 9.
The Maryland Office of Licensing and Certification Programs performed the two-day inspection at Prince George's General in late January, said agency director Henry Schwartz.
None of the individual violations threatened patient care, Schwartz said. "The seriousness of the situation derives from the number of citations rather than any one of them," he said.
The state inspection came more than a month after the Hospital Corporation of America did a quality assurance audit for Community Hospital and Health Care Systems Inc., the corporation that runs Prince George's General, the Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital and the Bowie Health Center. It also followed the resignation in December of the hospital's director of quality assurance, who complained that staff reductions last year had adversely affected hospital operations.
"Most of what [the state review] found we have fixed," said Winfield M. Kelly Jr., chairman of Community Hospital and Health Care Systems. "We have corrected more tha half of them, and each day we correct some more."
Among the violations cited in both surveys, Kelly said, were insufficient lighting in patient and operating rooms, insect infestation in the loading dock area, ill-kept medical records, refrigeration units that worked poorly and several food service problems.
After the state inspection in January, Schwartz said, the hospital was notified in a March 10 letter that it would no longer qualify to participate in the federal Medicare program if the violations were not corrected by May 9.
The hospital already had prepared a 19-page "plan of corrections" and sent it to Schwartz' office when it received the letter of warning, Kelly said. "I think they just crossed in the mail," he said.
Schwartz received the hospital's response on Tuesday and said that "it looked pretty good after the first quick read." He said it appears that the hospital will have made needed corrections before the deadline.
John Wesley White, Prince George's County's chief administrative officer and the county representative on the county hospital system board of directors, said the HCA audit had uncovered many of the problems cited in the state survey.
"I don't want to appear to be complacent about the deficiencies," White said, "but I believe there has been a really conscientious effort to correct what needs to be corrected."