Hospital releases statement

CEO: Investigation finds no cases of fraud, abuse

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The Memorial Hospital board of trustees released a statement Friday indicating that an ongoing investigation has revealed no evidence supporting allegations of Medicare fraud and abuse.

"That was absolutely not validated or proven," TMH Chief Executive Officer George Rohrich said at a news con--ference Friday afternoon.

The administrator also said he thinks TMH is a safe health care facility, an opinion not shared by former chief of staff Dr. Michael Crane.

"If there was a safety issue ... we would close the hospital," Rohrich said. "Would I bring my 85-year-old mother here? Yes, I would."

The investigation began in mid-March in response to a litany of allegations by Crane criticizing hospital officials and accusing them of allowing "patterns of neglect and abandonment that may constitute negligent homicide."

The board's statement Friday comes on the heels of a special executive session Thursday during which members discussed preliminary findings with attorneys.

Although the investigation has not corroborated any of Crane's claims of patient neglect, hospital officials said the investigation has shed light on areas that need improvement, including medical staff peer review and relations and better documentation of transfers and medical records.

"We live in a world of regulations ... and we found we needed to do a better job in those areas," Rohrich said.

Rohrich said he expected the final investigation report to be finished later this month. Interviews still are being conducted, he said.

He estimated the investigation will cost $30,000 to $40,000. Hospital officials will use findings as a blueprint for sharpening operations, Rohrich said.

"This will eventually turn into a plan of direction for us or a plan of improvement," Rohrich said.

Crane, an obstetrician and gynecologist, has been on leave from the hospital since April. His absence has affected the hospital's ability to provide obstetrics services to patients, Rohrich said.

The administrator didn't rule out Crane returning to the hospital.

"I hope he can get his practice up and running," Rohrich said. "It's valuable to the community ... and the hospital."

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