Atoka hospital board members address CMS investigation report

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ATOKA, OK-Atoka hospital officials met Tuesday to discuss a damaging report released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after a recent investigation.

Atoka County Medical Center board chairman, David Burrage, said they have sent their response regarding the results of the investigation to the CMS. It lists their suggested solutions to fix the discrepancies. But as of Tuesday night's board meeting, they haven't heard from the agency and he said that is keeping them on their toes.

Burrage said on the recommendation of CMS, the hospital has already made some safety adjustments, forming a safety inspection committee overlooking fire safety and security.

"They want us to have a safety officer appointed, but we had a safety officer that left and we have a new safety officer that has been appointed. In fact it's the gentleman that we have the contract with for the hyperbaric services," he said.

Burrage said they have also addressed the issue of providing proper training for medical staff. After the CMS report stated that some of the hospital personnel were not properly trained on new equipment, or on procedures for their assigned departments.

"We've done all that training, but it will be recurring all the time too. I mean, it's not we're training somebody for this specific day for this specific job. We'll be doing training all the time and we'll continue to do that," he said.

Concerned citizens like Margie Sheffield also attended Tuesday's meeting. She said the hospital should hire more local staff because they would be more invested in the community and provide better care for the patients.

"Try to get more local people involved in the administrative or nursing in the hospital. I think we would be better satisfied," she said.

Burrage said where the staff are from has no bearing on treatment.

"Most of the healthcare facilities have people from all over working in their facilities. Our CEO is from Arkansas, I think we have 3 or 4 people from Arkansas working here out of 80," he said.

"There's nurses that's graduating from Murray, from East Central and Durant so the nursing staff should be filled with people from Atoka as far as I'm concerned," said Sheffield.

Burrage said they will keep the CMS survey discussions in the agenda until the next inspection.

"The CMS survey, we're gonna continue to do better, we're gonna take their suggestions and we're gonna try to outperform what they want to see," he said.

Burrage said he doesn't know when board will hear back from CMS. Atoka County Medical Center will be resurveyed by both the Oklahoma Department of Health and CMS in May to make sure the hospital is in compliance. If not, the hospital could lose its contract with Medicare.

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