20 Sep 2012

US government funding to troubled CNMI hospital under threat

1:54 pm on 20 September 2012

A severe sanction of "immediate jeopardy" has been placed on the Northern Marianas Commonwealth Health Center by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, threatening its funding support from the federal agency.

Once immediate jeopardy status is given to a facility, the healthcare provider has 23 days to get into compliance before funding is cut.

Immediate jeopardy indicates that the provider's noncompliance with one or more requirements of participation in the Medicare and Medicaid program has or is "likely to cause serious injury, harm, impairment, or death."

The sanction follows an inspection of the key units of the hospital where surveyors uncovered non-functioning defibrillators and the lack of backup machines at the facility.

If the Commonwealth Health Center does not meet standards, the Medicare program will halt payments to the hospital for inpatient treatment occurring on or after that date.

Each year, the public hospital receives up to 10 million US dollars in funding from Medicare.