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Southwest Healthcare reaches agreement to keep Medicare funding

Last month, state officials found the hospital system’s two facilities had put patients at risk of death or serious injury. Under the deal, the system must hire experts to evaluate it and report back.

State officials had found that the hospital system’s two facilities put patients at risk of death or serious injury. Under the deal, the system must hire experts to evaluate it and report back.

Southwest Healthcare officials announced Monday that the Riverside County hospital system has reached an agreement with federal regulators that will allow them to keep their Medicare funding past June 1.

The agreement comes a month after state officials announced a $100,000 fine after multiple determinations that the hospital system’s two facilities had put patients at risk of death or serious injury. The day after the fine was made public, federal officials said they planned to cut off Medicare funding June 1.

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Under the agreement, Southwest officials must hire independent experts to evaluate the hospital system and report to federal regulators within two months, according to Steven Chickering, an associate regional administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

If federal regulators accept the experts’ proposed improvements, hospital officials will have about a year to implement them, he said.

Marc Miller, president of Southwest’s parent company, King of Prussia, Pa.-based United Health Services, said in a statement that hospital officials agreed to hire a team of independent experts to analyze their compliance with federal regulations and propose improvements.

It is unclear whether the agreement will help Southwest preserve its state license.

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Last week, the California Department of Public Health sent Southwest a letter stating that its license was being revoked. This week, state officials were in talks with Southwest officials to avoid revocation.

molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com


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