Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 4:54 am | Fair 53º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Inspectors Find Deficiencies at Lompoc Valley Medical Center

Despite threat of Medicare cutoff, flaws noted in survey have since been resolved, CEO says

Deficiencies found at the Lompoc Valley Medical Center prompted two regulatory agencies to threaten the facility’s Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage, but hospital officials say the problems have been corrected. Click to view larger
Deficiencies found at the Lompoc Valley Medical Center prompted two regulatory agencies to threaten the facility’s Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage, but hospital officials say the problems have been corrected. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

An inspection led to a 128-page report citing numerous deficiencies at the Lompoc Valley Medical Center, with two regulatory agencies threatening to terminate the facility's Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage. 

But Chief Executive Officer Jim Raggio said Tuesday that all the deficiencies — most of which involved violations of policies or technicalities — have been corrected.

“None of this has anything to do with patient care,” Raggio said. “I would send my mother, my father, my child, myself, my wife — and I have — to this organization.” 

The March letter gives hospital officials until June 8 to fix the flaws identified in pharmaceutical services, food and dietetic services, infection control, quality assurance and performance improvement and governing body.

The statement of deficiencies came from the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, with representatives conducting a survey between Feb. 6 and 10.

The hospital is awaiting a re-check expected any day. 

“If they walked in today, I am 100 percent confident they would find this place fully compliant with all CMS standards,” Raggio said. 

Among flaws inspectors noted was an unattended computer screen revealing a patient’s health information, food stored at improper temperatures, lack of proper documentation on medications, incorrect environmental conditions for the hospital and more.

Other deficiencies cite lack of training, failure to tell a patient about advance directives, and improper handling of results for a germ-free are that had two positive tests for microorganisms.

“There must be an effective governing body that is legally responsible for the conduct of the hospital,” the report noted. 

“This condition is not met, as evidenced by: Based on observation, interview, record and document review, the hospital failed to effectively govern the activities and conduct of the hospital's operation in order to provide safe and quality health care in accordance with the Governing Body Bylaws…,” the report added. 

A fire-alarm pull hidden behind an open door was among the deficiencies found at  Lompoc Valley Medical Center during a recent inspection. Click to view larger
A fire-alarm pull hidden behind an open door was among the deficiencies found at Lompoc Valley Medical Center during a recent inspection. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

More than one deficiency noted in the recent inspection had gone unnoticed in prior checks, Raggio said.

This time, the 7-year-old hospital building was noted for a fire alarm hidden behind an open door. To fix it, the door now has several bright red stickers to highlight the emergency equipment’s location.

One deficiency cited temperatures in an operating room being slightly too cold, according to hospital policy. But Raggio said a lengthy surgery may prompt a physician to change the room temperature. 

“Our policy didn’t match our practice,” Raggio said, adding the policy has since been changed to allow lowering temperatures in certain situations.

Another deficiency criticized emergency supply meals, noting the facility had peanut butter and jelly but lacked a recipe for how much should be used. 

Meanwhile, Raggio said hospitals undergo surveys on a regular basis — this was the fourth conducted in the past 12 months and none of the others raised the same level of concerns.

Lompoc’s hospital is operated by a special district with a five-person board of directors. Raggio has led the organization since 1998, but has worked for the district since 1980.

“We have a tremendous staff. They’re highly motivated. We’re focused on providing the best care to the patients and we do,” Raggio said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >