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RIDOH Announces Consent Agreement with Rhode Island Hospital

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and Rhode Island Hospital have entered into a Consent Agreement, in lieu of regulatory action, that will result in the healthcare facility implementing a series of system improvement measures over the coming year.

The agreement follows a review by RIDOH of four reported incidents involving Rhode Island Hospital patients during February and March 2018. The incidents involved patient identification and procedure verification.

"Whenever preventable errors occur in hospital settings, it is essential that we scrutinize those errors carefully and that facilities make the systems changes needed to ensure that they do not occur again," said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. "Rhode Island is home to some of the preeminent healthcare facilities in the region and the country. Inspections and regulatory work by the Department of Health are critical to ensuring that our hospitals maintain that status, and to ensuring that the healthcare system as a whole continues to provide quality patient care."

The steps to be taken by Rhode Island Hospital outlined in the Consent Agreement include:

- Requesting and implementing the recommendations of the national hospital accrediting body, known as the Joint Commission, and putting in place process improvement methodologies developed by the Joint Commission. - Conducting facility-wide training on patient identification and procedure verification. - Scheduling a series of meetings with community emergency medical service (EMS) leadership and emergency department staff (among other staff) to identify opportunities for improvement related to patient identification. - Submitting to RIDOH policies and procedures related to access to electronic medical records, with a focus on policies related to the number of patients records a user can access simultaneously. - Hiring an external compliance organization to provide monitoring and oversight for at least one year.

Rhode Island Hospital has agreed to invest a minimum of $1 million in these and other improvement efforts that RIDOH required through this Consent Agreement.

Hospitals are required to report to RIDOH incidents that fall within more than two dozen categories. Examples of such categories include blood transfusion errors; unforeseen complications that result in extended patient stays; medication errors that require medical interventions; and electricity failures. The actions announced today are in response to the number of incidents that occurred at Rhode Island Hospital during this period (February and March 2018).

Federal health privacy laws prevent the release of information about the incidents, beyond what is in the Consent Agreement. (See link below.)

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