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In response to the California Healthline article (which was reprinted in the U-T), the following are clarifications and responses provided to the reporter that were not included or barely referenced. Equally important, we want to reassure you that patient safety is our top priority and we have procedures and processes in place to ensure we remain a high-quality healthcare provider.

At Paradise Valley Hospital, an outside lab performs a quarterly microbial analysis and monthly environmental purity and sterility test in the compounding area of the pharmacy. It found no evidence of contamination. In addition, a monthly End-Product IV compounding sterility test, again performed by the outside lab, showed “no growth,” which substantiated that no contamination was found in the pharmacy environment nor medications. These monthly and quarterly tests have been performed for years – and were performed prior to, during and post-inspection. This information was provided to the reporter verbatim.

While the survey found a “potential for exposure,” the ongoing testing revealed no evidence of contamination.

Equally important, the state inspectors themselves cited the findings posed no immediate jeopardy to patients, and no actual harm to patients was identified. “Inspectors did not deem the problems to pose immediate jeopardy to patients… The spokesman, Ronald Owens, said the state ‘did not identify actual harm to any patients’ and that regulators accepted the hospital’s plan of correction.’”

The article states that the hospital could have been fined up to $75,000, but was not. The reason Paradise Valley was not fined $75,000 was the inspectors did not find evidence of harm to patients, as referenced above. The hospital believes it also will be successful in overturning the $17,500 fine.

Due to the state’s lack of findings in regard to jeopardized patients and the decision not to pursue the large fine, we were hopeful the reporter would decide this was a non-story, or at least write a fair article including our comments.

From this point, the reporter then goes on to repeat the same accusations again about the “potential” for infection, even though both Paradise Valley Hospital and the state told the reporter there were no findings of threats to patients—“did not post immediate jeopardy to patients,” “inspectors were not able to identify actual harm to patients,” “an outside lab showed ‘no growth’ following sterility test.”

Regarding the other findings, Paradise Valley Hospital was not given an opportunity to respond. If we had, we would have responded as follows:

  • Physician Orders – Charts audited during the survey found some missing pain indicators. As a result, the process of performing appropriate and complete pain medication orders was reinforced with staff. No patient harm resulted from the missing orders.
  • Expired OR Medications – There were no expired medications found in the OR. If the reporter had asked us to respond to this, we would have asked him to indicate where he found this statement and could have clarified or responded as appropriate.
  • Hand-washing Rate – As mentioned in the article, the hospital has taken measures to improve observance of hand-washing rates. We were not asked to provide updated rate information to the reporter. Currently, we are at 93.5%.

Lastly, most hospitals receive some type of findings and fines through surveys. Paradise Valley Hospital’s findings were not out of the norm, and we have done and are consistently doing everything possible to ensure the safe and appropriate care to all our patients.

The reporter unfortunately chose not to mention the objective findings we provided him of Paradise Valley Hospital’s patient safety record by Healthgrades. Paradise Valley Hospital is in the top 5% in the nation for patient safety and has been a Patient Safety Excellence recipient for the last three years (2014-2016).

Hospitals in this category performed with excellence in providing safety for patients in the Medicare population as measured by objective outcomes, risk-adjusted patient safety indicator rates, for 14 patient safety indicators defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

In addition, Prime Healthcare has more 2016 Patient Safety Excellence Award recipient hospitals than any other health system in the country.