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Houston's United Memorial Medical Center slapped with immediate jeopardy violation by Medicare

Immediate jeopardy means a hospital condition has caused or is likely to cause serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to a patient

Part of the federal funding of hospital and nursing home care through the Medicare and Medicaid programs comes with periodic site visits by surveyors. When a surveyor finds an extremely dangerous condition,  there can be prompt consequences.

Immediate jeopardy is when the surveyor finds that the hospital facility hasn’t complied with one or more requirements of Medicare participation, and feels that the noncompliance has caused or is likely to cause serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to a patient or resident.

United Memorial Medical Center, whose main location is at 510 W. Tidwell Rd., Houston, TX 77090, received immediate jeopardy citations in 2021. United Memorial Medical Center has four other locations throughout the Houston area.

A surveyor for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services visited the hospital on July 19, 2021, and wrote up a violation report based on multiple operating rooms with unsanitary conditions, including rusted equipment and unkempt cabinets containing debris and cockroaches. The surveyor also observed two dirty open floor drain with water, which allowed pests access to the operating room.

It’s easy to understand how these conditions in what should be sanitary operating rooms would pose immediate jeopardy in the eyes of a surveyor.

As a former hospital administrator, it’s been my experience and observation that surveys by Medicare and Medicaid—and even accrediting organizations such as The Joint Commission—get rapt attention by hospital leaders. That’s because they realize that the consequences of losing accreditation or Medicare approval can mean the difference between the hospital staying open or closing from a lack of funding.

Surprisingly, that didn’t seem to be the case with United Memorial Medical Center. In the eyes of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the hospital didn’t jump into action with corrective measures.

That’s why on December 10, 2021, the Centers published a notice of the involuntary Medicare/Medicaid termination of provider agreement. The Centers explained that the reason for termination “is United Memorial Medical Center’s failure to meet the minimum health and safety standards required for Medicare program participation. The hospital does not comply with the Medicare/Medicaid Conditions of Participation.”

As a patient safety advocate, this is alarming. When patients go to a hospital, they’re entitled to receive medical, surgical, and nursing care within the applicable standards of care. When a facility and its medical and nursing staffs don’t comply with the standard of care, it causes needless danger to patients.

Here at Painter Law Firm, we’re very familiar with United Memorial Medical Center. If you’ve been seriously injured because of poor hospital or medical care at this Houston hospital, then contact a top-rated experienced Texas medical malpractice lawyer for a free consultation about your potential case.

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.


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