Commonwealth Journal

News Live

March 31, 2014

Bleak Day for LCRH

Hospital’s CEO admits Medicare data reporting errors that resulted in scathing ratings in Consumer Reports

Somerset —

In a world of spin doctors, it was a refreshing change when Mark Brenzel, CEO of Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital (LCRH) and acting on behalf of the hospital, yesterday owned up to a scathing report in the May 2014 issue of Consumer Reports. Based on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Consumers Report listed LCRH as the fourth bottom-scoring hospital in the nation with a safety score of a dismal 20 on a scale of 1 to 100.
“It’s our fault” Brenzel acknowledged, “The data we had been supplying to Medicare was incomplete and the government’s ability to determine how sick our patients were was compromised.”
Brenzel’s admission came simultaneously as a ruling was being prepared in a medical malpractice case that could cost LCRH $6 million-plus. (See related story below.)
All told, it was a bleak day for LCRH.
Brenzel said his main concern was repercussions the Consumer Reports article could have on the people in this region who depend on LCRH to provide emergency care in cases such as heart attacks and strokes.
“If a person with chest pains delays coming to our hospital because of questions about care here, there could be serious consequences.”
So has the quality of medical care at LCRH been compromised?
No.
But its record-keeping was.
LCRH’s mortality rate is on average with hospitals its size across the nation. And LCRH patients can expect the same level of care—under current scrutiny perhaps even better care—that they would receive at any similar facility in the nation. But the hospital’s inaccurate reports—discovered and addressed in late 2011—sure make it appear worse.
Just like the very prominent evidence of a black eye lasts for some time after the initial injury, Brenzel said LCRH is braced for about two more years of fallout from its inaccurate data black eye.

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