Lancaster County’s largest hospital has been cited for missing hundreds of respiratory treatments because it didn’t have enough clinicians or medications available, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
An inspection report shows that inspectors visited Lancaster General Hospital unannounced on Feb. 20 after receiving a complaint and found records indicating that from July 2017 to January 2018, more than 1,100 respiratory treatments ordered by doctors had been missed.
Of those, 983 were due to clinician unavailability — 570 of them in January alone, according to the report.
The report also said LGH did not report the missed treatments to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, as state law requires. The report did not say any specific patient harms were caused by missing the treatments.
Dr. Michael Ripchinski, Lancaster General physician executive for quality, said in a written statement that the inspection came “during a very active flu and pneumonia season, during which demand for respiratory therapy services surged substantially.”
He mentioned several changes outlined in the report, including “adding additional therapists, making the needed medications more accessible to our providers, and enhancing our performance reporting process to ensure quality and patient safety.”
Both the department and the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services have accepted all of the improvements Lancaster General made, Ripchinski, said, and it is now “better positioned to deliver care during periods of high demand.”
Department spokesman Nate Wardle said in an email that cited facilities are monitored to make sure they follow a plan of correction.
If they don’t, he said, they may face fines, licensure sanctions or even be kicked out of Medicare and Medicaid.
Lancaster General’s license remains in good standing, according to Wardle.