Rideout Health CEO Robert Chason acknowledged Thursday a shutdown of the facility's electronic record-keeping system wreaked internal havoc for the hospital and affiliated health care centers.
And the disruption came as an inspection team from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals — a highly-sought-after certification standard in the industry — was visiting Rideout Memorial Hospital. The facility currently does not have that certification.
Rideout Health's electronic record-keeping system — shut down last week by a burned-out heating unit — was nearly fully operational again Thursday, Chason said.
"Nearly everything related to patient systems are up and running," he said. "The last one we are working on is the linear accelerator program at the Cancer Center.
"We are hoping that by (Friday) we will have everything back up and running."
Once the linear accelerator issue, which forced postponement of some radiation treatments, is resolved, it will enable the nonprofit's payroll to be completed, Chason said.
"Internal email will be the last to come back," he said.
Chason said he understood criticism leveled at the administration for its handling of the crisis, given that patient medical records were not accessible during the shutdown.
"This was a decision we had to make on very short notice," Chason said. "We talked about whether to transport and transfer patients for a long period of time. There were phone calls taking place all day and all night with all the key people.
"I have great empathy for these folks because they were on the front line. There were some records that were not accessible for a period of time, but we tried to get them as quickly as we knew about them."
The incident last Friday affected Rideout's entire computer system — ranging from email to patient medical records. However, officials said there were no records lost nor any negative effect on patients.
The issue was not related to the newly-installed electronic record-keeping system, but to the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system in the off-site data center, Chason said. He said one of two HVAC units burned out, and a second unit also failed when it overcompensated for the burned-out unit.
"As the temperature rose, it exceeded the computer system's tolerance," Chason said earlier this week.
Hospital pays $50K fine
Rideout Memorial Hospital has decided not to challenge a $50,000 fine imposed last week by the state Department of Public Health, Rideout's CEO said.
CEO Robert Chason said Thursday Rideout already has written a check for the fine imposed for a 2012 incident in which a patient was allegedly given 10 times the ordered dose of methadone.
"We just went back and looked at the state policies around this and made sure it was something we had to do," said Chason, who has been Rideout CEO since last September. "Once we made the determination this was an appropriate finding, we paid the fine."
The state alleged Rideout "failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow policies and procedures for safe distribution and administration of medication."
Rideout was one of 10 hospitals in the state penalized last week. Hospitals can appeal an administrative penalty by requesting a hearing within 10 calendar days of notification, according to the state agency.
The statement of deficiencies for the Rideout incident claimed the patient was given the excess dosage of methadone in September 2012. It also alleged the patient was given an excess dose of morphine sulfate, but did not receive, as ordered, another drug to reverse depressant effects of the first two.
A contract nurse who administered the incorrect doses of medications had her contract terminated, the statement said.