When Faye Watkins, 63, walked into Kanis Endoscopy in Arkansas, she said she was unaware there had been two deaths after care there within the previous three months. She was in the fog of anesthesia when it struck her that something was amiss. She said she heard men say her blood pressure was falling.The article indicates the episodes in Arkansas resulted in lawsuits that ultimately were settled and all those involved defended the quality of care.
“I said (to myself), 'Lord, if it’s time for me to go, take me. But I’m not ready,’ ” Watkins recalled. Her next memory was waking up in a hospital with her chest sore from CPR.
The KHN/USA TODAY examination raises questions about the need for more robust oversight of surgery centers, where public access to important information, such as surgical outcome data, tends to be more limited than what’s available about hospitals. The gap persists even as the nation’s 5,600 surgery centers have surpassed hospitals in number and taken on increasingly complex procedures.
Medicare spokesman Bob Moos said state recertification inspectors come in every four to seven years and review all cases in the previous year in which a surgery center patient was transferred to a hospital. When the state inspector visited Kanis, “nothing on the hospital transfer log raised a red flag for her to investigate,” the spokesman said.
Officials would not describe what was on the transfer log or which cases were on it or confirm that Smith’s name had been included on it.
A Kanis spokesperson said it would violate patient confidentiality to comment on what the staff showed the inspector. Arkansas Department of Health spokeswoman Meg Mirivel provided no details, saying state law prohibits releasing information about hospital or surgery center investigations.
The state official’s inspection report does not mention any patient transfers. It does say the center was operating outside of industry norms by performing colonoscopies without an additional nurse in the room. The center pledged to health officials that it would add a nurse to the endoscopy suites.