PRMC still mum after report returned

By Marlena Hartz

A report detailing deficiencies discovered at Plains Regional Medical Center was released Wednesday afternoon to PRMC officials.

Its contents were compiled by state health officials during an unannounced February hospital inspection, which was conducted in response to a complaint against the medical facility.

Though hospital officials could release details of the report, according to New Mexico Department of Health officials, they have chosen to remain mute.

“I cannot characterize the contents of the findings we received,” said Todd Sandman, a spokesperson for the hospital’s parent company, Presbyterian Healthcare Services.

Sandman said he could not provide a copy of the report to the Clovis News Journal, nor could he comment on the area in which the complaint was issued.

The hospital has 10 days to submit a plan of correction to the New Mexico Department of Health, said state health official David Rodriguez, who heads the Health Facility, Licensing and Certification Bureau.

“Once we receive that, we will review it. If it is acceptable, it can then be publicly disclosed,” Rodriguez said. “But if (PRMC officials) choose to disclose (the details of the report) before then, that is their prerogative.”

He said his office will post the details of the report as soon as PRMC officials respond to the allegations with a plan of action. The findings would then be detailed on the New Mexico Department of Health Web site:
But hospital officials’ silence could continue for at least 60 days from the time of the February inspection, if the Health Department finds the PRMC plan of action unacceptable, Rodriguez said.

Then, the report — and the complaint that preceded it — could remain undisclosed until April 7, Rodriguez said.
Presbyterian will work with PRMC administrators and staff, as well as the PRMC Board of Trustees, to address the allegations and build a plan of action to prevent further breeches of hospital protocol, according to Sandman.

PRMC Board of Trustees Chairperson Gayla Brumfield said late Wednesday afternoon she was aware the hospital had received a report on its deficiencies, but did not yet know the details. Nor did she know in which area the hospital had erred, she said.

But she remained confident the hospital could correct deficiencies detailed in the report. And Brumfield said she would look more closely at it soon.

She said she will stridently follow the process for addressing complaints and deficiencies at hospitals by the federal government.

Brumfield said her confidence in the hospital has not eroded, especially since the hospital received accreditation only months ago.

“I care about this community and our quality of health care,” Brumfield said.

She added, “My own father had surgery at that hospital, and we would go there again. I believe strongly in the quality of that hospital.”

PRMC is the primary source of health care for 110,000 people living within 100-mile radius of Clovis, according to the medical facility’s Web site.

Brian Bentley, PRMC’s administrator, resigned soon after the Health Department’s visit but he and hospital officials have declined to say if Bentley’s resignation is related to the Health Department’s findings.