An embattled Detroit hospital group is now in compliance with Michigan health regulations after passing a surprise inspection late last month.
The Detroit News reports that the visit from state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs showed no safety issues at Detroit Medical Center’s sterilization facilities and that the probe of its practices is now closed.
The provider came under scrutiny from regulators after the paper reported last year that DMC was plagued by contaminated surgical equipment for more than a decade — and that it repeatedly drew complaints from physicians and surgeons.
Following that investigation, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services determined that DMC was not in compliance with federal rules and threatened to cut off its federal funding.
The federal inspection, conducted by Michigan regulators, found that DMC failed to implement proper cleaning and infection control policies. The News reported that one in three instrument sets opened during the probe was not properly sterilized.
In response, DMC signed a deal to transfer oversight of its central sterilization facility and made numerous other personnel and oversight changes.
Federal officials cleared the hospital group in November, and the surprise inspection by state regulators represented the final major hurdle in the controversy, according to the paper.
“We are pleased that we resolved this matter to LARA’s satisfaction and that the hospital is in compliance with regulations designed to protect the health and safety of patients who entrust us with their care,” DMC officials told the News.
Union officials representing sterilization workers, however, disputed that DMC’s issues are completely resolved. Donna Stern of AFSCME Local 140 said that the group failed to invest in new equipment and that employee morale remains low.
“The changes have been superficial,” Stern told the paper. “They’ve painted the department. There are new layers of supervisors. But not the things we need to do our jobs properly.”