A lingering cloud hanging over two area hospitals has been lifted.
Southwest Healthcare System, which operates and Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta, will retain its state licensing.
In a Nov. 17 letter from the California Department of Public Health, Pamela Dickfoss, CDPH deputy director stated, “… the CDPH will cease its revocation action of SWHS’s license… . All outstanding issues stipulated in the Settlement Agreement entered into by the CDPH and SWHS … are now resolved.”
The CDPH based its decision on Beginning July 25 and ending Aug. 2, the CDPH, under federal authority, conducted “a full validation survey” of SWHS.
During that survey, the state health department found “two areas out of compliance with the conditions of participation as a Medicare participant. Those areas were Pharmacy and Nursing Services,” according to CDPH spokeswoman Anita Gore in an email to Patch.
(Click here to download the state’s August 2011 findings.)
State officials put SWHS on notice that they would be back within 90 days for another inspection.
On Nov. 1, state officials revisited Southwest Healthcare’s hospitals, and "CDPH did not identify any deficiencies during their survey,” Gore said.
The clean bill of health came as good news to SWHS. The 2011 surveys were preceded by a flurry of problems dating back to 2007 that ultimately led to a finding by state investigators that SWHS was putting patient health in jeopardy. As a result, state officials threatened to pull the healthcare provider’s Medicare/Medicaid funding and revoke its license to operate both hospitals. Either move would have effectively shut down the facilities.
In response to the latest news, on Nov. 30 SWHS CEO Ken Rivers issued a statement saying, “the outcome was the result of the dedication, devotion and hard work of the employees, medical staff, volunteers and leadership at Southwest.
“This result is not the end but the beginning,” Rivers continued. “The employees and medical staff at Southwest Healthcare have always been fully committed to ensuring that the highest quality healthcare is being provided to our patients and this community. We will not rest on our accomplishments to date but remain steadfast in our commitment to maintain and enhance the quality of care we provide which our patients expect, their families demand and that this community deserves.”