Federal government investigating care complaints at Winnebago In - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Federal government investigating care complaints at Winnebago Indian Health Services

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WINNEBAGO, Nebraska (KTIV) - A federal agency is investigating a northeast Nebraska hospital over concerns with patient care.

KTIV has confirmed with Winnebago Tribal Chairman John Blackhawk that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services visited the Winnebago Indian Health Services facility to address four specific complaints regarding patient care.

A spokesperson for CMS says because of federal regulations, they can't comment on the matter until Winnebago's facility submits an acceptable plan of correction to any of CMS's findings.

CMS did say they have not asked that inpatients be transported to another facility at this time.

Tribal Chairman Blackhawk says that doesn't mean the facility is out of hot water just yet.

"There is that potential, they'll set a time frame and if we don't meet that time frame, there's that potential for them to not close the facility, but to not honor the Medicare reimbursements that they have, which effectively closes the facility because you're talking about billing, you're talking about income," Blackhawk said.

Tribal Chairman Blackhawk took part in two days of meetings with officials from CMS. He acknowledges a complaint about patient care. Blackhawk says they're reviewing things with the medical staff and putting together a plan of action to respond to the complaints. He's optimistic that Winnebago's health care facility will be able to continue operations as normal. "They're not in the business of shutting down facilities," said John Blackhawk, Winnebago Tribal Chairman. "They're in the business of trying to have them meet minimum standards to better patient care."

Indian Health Services is putting together their plan of action, according to Blackhawk.

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