Hospital Violates Patient's Right to be Free From Abuse and Harassment

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a “condition-level” citation against Austin Lakes Hospital for failing to protect and promote patient rights. CMS found that the facility lapsed in its responsibility to protect patients from abuse and harassment when a staff member yelled at a patient when she requested to be discharged from the facility. The patient, who was under voluntary status, was told by staff that she could not leave until she was assessed by police. As a result of the incident, the facility received a “condition-level violation,” meaning the facility could have been terminated from the Medicare program if the violation was not corrected. CMS informed Austin Lakes Hospital that “[t]hese deficiencies have been determined to be of such a serious nature as to substantially limit your hospital’s capacity to render adequate care and prevent it from being in compliance with all the Conditions of Participation for hospitals.” CMS added that the facility’s corrective actions “must be effective to halt potential termination action against your hospital.”  Several months following the incident, CMS determined the facility was back in compliance during a follow-up survey.