Swedish’s Cherry Hill site regains full status in Medicare program

Swedish Health’s Cherry Hill site had faced the prospect of being terminated from the Medicare program. But regulators say Swedish has brought the facility into compliance.

Federal regulators have cleared Swedish Health’s Cherry Hill facility to continue participating in the Medicare program as the hospital makes changes following an investigation that identified a sweeping range of problems with patient safety and oversight.

Health officials had threatened to remove the facility from the Medicare program in August unless it could bring itself into compliance within 90 days. Failure to do so would have been a major setback for the hospital, which has suffered a tumultuous year following a Seattle Times investigation that detailed problems at the acclaimed neuroscience institute at the Cherry Hill site.

In a brief memo to Swedish dated Thursday, a Medicare official indicated that the organization was back in compliance.

Swedish and Medicare officials did not immediately release details of the hospital’s plan of action that led to the restoration of its status, but Swedish’s CEO, Dr. Guy Hudson, told staff in an email Friday that he was grateful for employees who had worked with the regulators.

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“This is an ongoing process, reflective of our commitment to continuous learning and improvement,” Hudson said in the message. “To fulfill our mission as an organization, it’s important we are open to changes in our traditional practices and receptive to the concerns of our physicians, caregivers and patients.”

The hospital continues to face an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, which separately has been examining issues at Cherry Hill.

The Seattle Times investigative stories earlier this year examined issues of patient safety, staff complaints about the changing…

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