Friday, January 06, 2017


FLAGLER HOSPITAL'S all-white boards need to exercise their fiduciary duty and find solutions. Now.

Flagler Hospital Board of Trustees

Len Tucker, Chairman
Bill Abare, Ed.D
Matt Baker
Jeff Kamm
William Kopf
Ray Matuza
Todd Neville
Brad Runk
Susan Ponder-Stansel
Stuart Soroka, M.D.
Karen Taylor
Susan Yarian, M.D.
Len Weeks
Todd Batenhorst, M.D., 
President, First Coast 
Health Alliance
James Grimes, MD 
President, Flagler Hospital 
Medical Staff

Flagler Health Services Board Members

Karen Taylor, Chair

Louise Anderson
Shelby Cline, M.D.
Brian Crevasse
Chris Kamienski
Rob Matthews

Dr. Eric Smith

Flagler Health Care Foundation, Inc. Board of Trustees

  • Ray Matuza, Chairperson
  • Michael A. Davis, Vice-Chairperson
  • Cathy Burkhardt, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Mark Bailey, Sr.
  • Katherine Batenhorst
  • Jane Boles
  • Stella Brown
  • Suzanne Brown
  • Christine Chapman
  • J.B. Coomes
  • Brad Cooper
  • Meg DiBella
  • Andrew DiFeo
  • Sue Foley
  • John Gebert
  • Michelle Grobman
  • Tawhid Hossain, M.D.
  • Guy Jopling
  • Melissa S. Kauttu
  • William Kopf
  • Jennifer Koppman
  • Elena Laguardia
  • Derek Muehrcke, M.D.
  • Bill Mignon
  • Norman Nelson
  • Brendan O'Connell
  • Pat O'Connell
  • Gregory Oxford, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.
  • Reuben Plant, Jr., M.D.
  • William Platko, M.D.
  • Frederick Rendall
  • Jeani H. Taliaferro
  • Len Tucker
  • Len Weeks
  • Bruce Witten, M.D.

Posted January 4, 2017 12:02 am - Updated January 4, 2017 06:41 am
Flagler to receive cut in Medicare funding following patient safety report

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Flagler Hospital will receive slightly less Medicare funding this year after placing among the nation’s worst performers, in terms of patient safety, in a newly released report from the federal government.

The report, released in December by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is part of the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program — a program started in 2015 as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The program is meant to “provide an incentive for hospitals to reduce hospital-acquired conditions,” according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.

The report compiles scores based on data from six “quality measures” that include “patient safety indicators” such as rates of post operative hip fractures or sepsis as well as punctures and lacerations. It also tracks occurrences of central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, surgical site (colon and hysterectomy) infections, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, and clostridium difficile infections.

Scores are assigned — on a 10-point scale — to each hospital based on that data, with higher numbers reflecting poorer performance. Hospitals ranking in the bottom 25 percent will have their Medicare payments reduced to “99 percent of what would otherwise have been paid for such discharges,” the website says.

Flagler Hospital scored 6.94 in this year’s report, placing it among the 769 hospitals to score higher than the 6.57 cutoff.

Gina Mangus, vice president of patient engagement at Flagler Hospital, told The Record on Tuesday that this is the first time in three years that the hospital has made the list.

“Obviously, when you see a report like this you are disappointed, particularly knowing what a strong emphasis you place on patient safety,” she said.

In terms of money, the penalty is expected to be about $700,000, which represents about 0.5 percent of the hospital’s Medicare revenue and 0.2 percent of its total annual revenue.

Mangus said officials at the hospital are still sifting back through the reported data “trying to figure out how these scores came to be.”

“Thus far, we have discovered some issues related to proper documentation that likely negatively impacted our scores in some areas for this time period,” she said.

Because the data used in the report is self-reported, Mangus said officials are trying to determine if recent conversions in record-keeping software, and other factors, might have had anything to do with the scores, though she stopped short of saying occurrences may have been “over reported.”

“Medicine is very complex,” she said. “Some things relate to the time you identify a condition, some things relate to how you classify something.”

There have been no major changes to day-to-day operations at the hospital based on the report, Mangus said, adding that officials are still looking at the reporting process because what is reflected in data “really doesn’t fit with what we know from our culture.”

“We are still looking; it’s a long and complex process,” she said.

Other area hospitals due to receive a penalty based on the report include UF Health Jacksonville which scored 9.66, Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, 7.34; Florida Hospital-Flagler, 7.42; Baptist Medical Center-Beaches, 7.46; and Putnam Community Medical Center in Palatka with a score of 7.85.

Florida Times-Union reporters Andrew Pantazi and Tessa Duvall contributed to this report.

Anthony Ser
People got here to die

David Zenn
I was in Flagler Hospital in July for A-fib. Shortly upon release, I found myself in a battle with C. Difficile. Suspicious, to say the least
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2 days ago
Kathy Goldstein
My mother was also admitted to Flager in July and contracted the C Diff infection. Battled it until her death in October.

David Zenn
So sorry. Did the C. Diff take her life, or was there another cause?

Joy Browne
It is obvious that there are not processes in place to sustain patient health. 1st...does the hospital have safety standards/rules in place?
2nd are employees trained and monitored on these standards?
3rd...what are your hiring, evaluating and firing standards. Sounds like Flagler is not implementing best practices for patient health care, the sanitary conditions are not up to standard, or the staff is not following procedure.

I've never been impressed with the hospital. Its security officers are badly in need to be sent to a rigorous "charm school." I know a man who lost the lower portion of one of his legs to a staph infection he picked up while in the hospital. If you haven't seen the film "The Hospital" starring George C. Scott, look it up. It's a scathing satire on the hospital business.

Stephen James
It may be "obvious" to you but making broad judgments off of one bad report does not make the causes of the negative report "obvious". Just like one positive report does not make a hospital perfect overall. Safety standards are in place. Extensive training is happening all the time. New products to increase safety and reduce infections are being introduced all the time. Did you ever stop to think that some Hospital Acquired Infections may be caused by the rampant overuse of antibiotics which creates even more antibiotic resistant bacteria? This is a real concern worldwide because every time someone gets an earache or a sore throat, they jump on antibiotics giving bacteria unnecessary opportunities to build up a resistance. And in case you haven't noticed, hospitals are a collection of the most sick people in a region. Fighting hospital acquired infections is and always will be an ongoing process full of victory and defeat. To bash the only hospital that stayed open for its community during Hurricane Matthew based on one negative report in a sea of accolades and accomplishments is pretty terrible.

Jerri LaRocco
Developed stage II and III bilateral large heel ulcers after surgery and over night stay. Tried to meet with hospital risk manager to determine cause in case I ever had to have future surgery. I was totally ignored and told everything was "perfect". I doubt ulcer occurrence was reported.

Stephen James
My son was born at Flagler Hospital. I had my Bariatric Surgery there as well. I have worked there for many years now and I can say with a great deal of certainty that Flagler Hospital is a very safe and dedicated hospital and has won many awards for the services it provides as the ONLY hospital in St. Johns county. We switched to a new Healthcare Information System that is integrated into the whole operation. Its likely that the data reported does not fully match with what is actually happening causing a skewed result. No matter the cause, I have worked at Flagler Hospital long enough to know that they will address it and make it right.

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