30 Jun 2010

Concerns for patient safety at CNMI Health Centre following investigation

10:28 am on 30 June 2010

Serious deficiencies, threatening the health and safety of patients, have been uncovered at the Commonwealth Health Centre in the Northern Mariana Islands.

The US Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services investigated the Centre in January and found it was failing to comply with all the rules set out for hospitals in the Medicare program.

Our correspondent, Mark Rabago, says a lack of health care professionals has led to insufficient care of patients.

"Some of the nurses were found to be mixing medicines when that job's supposed to be the work of the pharmacists. They also found that the nurses, the staff, the medical staff, when they use gloves they don't immediately dispose of them after using them from one patient to another. They also found out that some of the patients had bed sores as a result of not being turned over."

Mark Rabago says the findings could potentially jeopardise the Health Centre's provider agreement with the federally funded health insurers.