RISK Alert #790 – St. Cloud Hospital Shooting Threatens CMS Funding

St. Cloud Hospital in Aitkin County, Minnesota, has been threatened with losing Medicare funding by CMS, after a shooting incident where a suicidal patient took the security officers gun and shot him to death
in the hospital.

According to a review by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The patient, Danny
Hammond, age 50,  told staff he was going to kill himself and any man who came into his room, as soon as he had the chance, the CMS report said. 

Hammond  had been airlifted to the hospital the morning of Oct. 12 after attempting suicide by an intentional overdose, according to the report. He had several warrants out for his arrest after being charged with kidnapping and assaulting his wife, and the hospital obtained the services of Aitkin County officers to monitor Hammond in his hospital room.



At 5:10 a.m. that morning, Hammond charged at Aitkin County deputy Steven Sandberg, took his gun, and fatally shot him. Hammond was subdued with a stun gun and later died.

The CMS Report cites the hospital, “The hospital’s failure to provide direct psychiatric care to the patient … resulted in the patient’s ability to obtain and engage the firearm of a peace officer,” the report said.

In response to the report, the hospital submitted a plan of correction updating its policies and training. According to the document, the hospital already has started mandatory training for staff reinforcing requirements that 72-hour holds can be ordered only by physicians, and that psychiatric consultations and treatment must continue until the hold is lifted. The attending physician and psychiatric provider must agree that services or treatment are no longer necessary.

Lessons  Learned :

Make sure the entire staff has current updated policies and procedures, mandated training which is continually checked and updated.

CMS is becoming more active in tracking shootings and violent incidents in
hospitals, using Medicare and Medicaid funding as a hammer to ensure compliance.

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