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Johns Hopkins All Children’s agrees to pay $800K fine

Margie Manning

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Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has agreed to pay $804,000 in administrative fines arising from past regulatory violations cited by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

The hospital also is voluntarily extending by two months a corrective action plan reached in an agreement with federal regulators.

The St. Petersburg hospital has been under scrutiny following a series of reports that documented high death rates in its pediatric cardiology program. The hospital suspended heart surgeries but recently said it would restart the program, hiring Dr. James Quintessenza to lead the Heart Institute.

Johns Hopkins All Children’s, with 259 beds, is a leading pediatric referral center and a cornerstone of the Tampa-St. Pete medical community, with one of the largest childhood cancer programs in the southeast United States, a teaching center for future pediatricians and a newly opened 230,000-square-foot education and research facility. It’s also a major employer and stakeholder in the St. Pete Innovation District.

The regulatory violations were cited in AHCA’s surveys in January and in April, according to a Nov. 13 regulatory disclosure by The Johns Hopkins Health System Corp., in an update from earlier reports. Among the deficiencies noted in the AHCA reports were failing to inform patients about their medical rights, failing to collect required data, and failing to develop effective organizational structures to assess the medical staff. All have since been corrected, according to both AHCA and the Johns Hopkins Health System.

The settlement agreement between Johns Hopkins All Children’s and AHCA needs to be executed by AHCA and adopted as part of a final order before it becomes final.

The hospital also has a corrective action plan which was accepted by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The hospital has been working under the guidance of The Greeley Co., an independent consultant, to implement the plan in preparation for a future survey by CMS to confirm compliance.

The corrective action plan was set to expire on April 26, 2020, but at the hospital’s request, it has been extended to June 29, 2020 in order for the hospital to ensure improvements are sustainable and systemic, the Nov. 13 report said.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, Johns Hopkins All Children’s reported a $4.3 million loss from operations. The regulatory disclosure cited three reasons for the loss: interest and depreciation costs associated with the new research building that opened in September 2018, increased labor costs and increased supply costs, including CAR-T therapy, which is used to treat advanced blood cancers.

The hospital had reported $4.2 million in net income in the same three-month period in 2018.

Johns Hopkins All Children’s total revenue for the just-ended quarter was $126.9 million, compared to $126.6 million in the year-ago period.

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