Hospital launches investigation

Doctor's concerns spark questions

The Memorial Hospital announced Friday that hospital officials have launched an investigation into possible neglect and Medicare fraud.

The investigation is based on complaints lodged by Dr. Michael Crane, hospital chief of staff, hospital compliance officer Suzanne Frappier said.

In a letter released to the media Thursday, Crane said he had asked the hospital board of trustees numerous times to look into his complaints.

"As of this date, the board of trustees of the hospital has not accepted my request to discuss grave issues of patient safety, of potential Medicare fraud and abuse, of violations of (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) laws, and even of patterns of neglect and abandonment that may constitute negligent homicide," Crane said in his letter.

Frappier said Friday that the hospital had launched an investigation into Crane's concerns.

Crane said he was pleased to hear the hospital had launched the investigation.

"I am very encouraged by the hope infused by the TMH compliance officer and the board of trustees," Crane said Friday night. "I know that if properly diagnosed and treated, most patients (and hospitals) who are gravely ill may fully recover."

The hospital has hired a Denver law firm to assist with the investigation, Frappier said.

The details of the investigation are considered attorney/client privilege and will be kept secret during the investigation, Frappier said.

"We just have to gather the facts now," she said.

Frappier said the investigation would consist primarily of interviews with hospital staff. She said she did not know how long the investigation would take.

The possible outcome of the investigation also is hard to determine, Frappier said.

Don Myers, president of the hospital board of trustees, said board members will refer all questions in the case to Frappier.

Hospital spokeswoman Pam Thompson also declined to comment on the investigation, but she said in her four years at the hospital, this is the first investigation of its kind.

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