River Oaks Hospital in Harahan, LA was cited during a complaint survey completed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for deficiencies related to patient rights.
CMS determined that:
“The hospital failed to follow its policy and procedure for resolving a patient’s grievance. The hospital failed to investigate and report to the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) a patient’s allegation of sexual molestation and sexual assault for 1 of 1 patient’s record reviewed for abuse or neglect from a total of 10 sampled patients. There was a potential for 23 inpatients on Building 5 to be victims of sexual molestation or assault with no investigation being conducted by administration.”
The inspection revealed that Patient #6, a 26 year old male, wrote in a complaint resolution form dated 12/17/12:
“[W]hile under the care and medication of River Oaks I was sexually assaulted by roommate while sleeping. He was rubbing my face and kissing me. It woke me up and he was standing over me. Later that day, I saw where he also ejaculated on my bed as well. I told the staff and nothing was done.”
Further review by inspectors revealed that at the time of the incident “both patients came out the room and reported the incident to the 11:00pm to 7:00am shift’s nursing staff….[and] were separated, room assignments were changed, and both patients returned to their respective rooms. An RN told CMS that “patient #6 reported the incident and was given a Valium as ordered for anxiety to help him calm down.”
Nurses’ notes four days later revealed that “patient was angry that no one talked to his roommate, no one looked at his sheets, and no one talked to him about the incident; patient was offered a complaint form, and he refused to complete it.” The facility’s Risk Manager was aware of the incident, but did not treat it as a formal grievance despite facility policy that “All complaints of abuse or neglect will be considered a grievance.” After reviewing the patient’s medical record, the Risk Manager indicated that “a report of an allegation of sexual molestation had not been reported to DHH and had not been investigated, but ‘In retrospect, it should have been.'”
In the plan of correction, the facility agreed to review and revise its policies related to patient grievances, reporting allegations to DHH, abuse and neglect, and the complaint log.