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Federal Agency Clears Mount Carmel West Of Safety Issues

The main entrance to Mount Carmel West Hospital is shown Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins
Associated Press
The main entrance to Mount Carmel West Hospital is shown Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have accepted a corrective action plan from Mount Carmel West, the hospital announced Tuesday.

“Nearly all of these improvement areas relate to the physical environment of the facilities,” reads a statement from the hospital.

CMS told Mount Carmel Health System in January that two of its hospitals were in “immediate jeopardy” of losing federal funding, following the firing of doctor William Husel.

The next month, both Mount Carmel West and St. Ann’s submitted actions plans to correct problems identified in their pharmacaceutical services. Among the problems were policy deficiencies around the use of fentanyl, and failed safeguards in the medication dispensing system.

Those plans were accepted by CMS, which cleared the hospital system of its “immediate jeopardy” status. However, an additional survey by the Ohio Department of Health foundfire and building safety issuesat Mount Carmel West.

After submitting additional corrective plans, Mount Carmel St. Ann’s won approval from CMS in April. Mount Carmel West has been working to enact its own fixes, which it says will be resolved by July.

Timeline: The Mount Carmel Scandal So Far

“We anticipate CMS will return to our facilities for a follow-up visit to assess and confirm that all appropriate actions are complete and effective,” continues the statement from Mount Carmel West. “In the meantime, nothing changes our ability to treat patients covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Our top priority remains providing safe, high-quality care to our patients.”

Husel worked at Mount Carmel from 2013-2018. During that time, he’s accused of giving “excessive” doses of painkillers to at least 34 patients, all of whom died after receiving the medicine.

Earlier this month, prosecutors charged Husel with 25 counts of murder for prematurely ending the lives of his patients. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Husel has since posted bail.

At least 27 wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against Husel and Mount Carmel, although several families have agreed to settle their claims with the hospital.

In addition to criminal charges, Husel also faces punishment from the State Medical Board, which temporarily suspended his license.

Mount Carmel Grove City faces its own lawsuits after a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the new hospital, which led the death of one person.

If you have information to share about the Mount Carmel investigation, please contact WOSU at paige.pfleger@wosu.org.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.