On December 4th, however the medical center's CEO, Michael Nagowski, published an open letter in a local paper that referred to a review that involved "our process for discharging patients." Benbenek would not confirm that the review involved a patient who was involuntarily discharged from CFVMC and died on his way home.
He did note that the medical center "would face Medicare termination only if the surveyors do not validate our plan upon their return. We are confident that the upcoming survey will once again validate our plan and Medicare and Medicaid funding will not be terminated."
Officials at CMS's office in Atlanta declined to release any documents related to the three immediate jeopardy findings. HealthLeaders Media filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request for the documents but was told it could take two weeks to receive the requested information.
Problems at CFVMC have attracted the attention of the Joint Commission, a nonprofit group that accredits and certifies thousands of hospitals nationwide. Bret Coons, a Joint Commission spokesperson, told HealthLeadersMedia in an e-mail exchange that the commission "is aware of an incident at Cape Fear Medical Center that is similar to what you described, but we can neither confirm nor deny the details. The Joint Commission's Office of Quality Monitoring is in communication with Cape Fear Medical Center and is evaluating the incident."
Coons explained that the Joint Commission reviews every complaint and potential adverse event that it has been made aware of regarding its accredited organizations. The source of any complaint is confidential.