As a Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer, I handle cases involving hospitals throughout Harris County and the State of Texas.
One of the hospitals in Harris County’s Bay Area is Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, which is located at 500 Medical Center Boulevard, and Webster, Texas 77598. It is owned by CHCA Clear Lake, L.P., in Nashville, Tennessee. It is part of the HCA mega-system of hospitals, which is also based in Tennessee.
The hospital offers healthcare services including a breast diagnostic center, cancer treatment, cardiovascular/heart care, diabetes management, an emergency room, diagnostic imaging (x-ray, CT scan, MRI scan), inpatient rehabilitation, neuroscience and neurosurgery, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), outpatient care, pediatrics, general surgery, plastic/reconstructive surgery, cardiovascular surgery, a Level II trauma center, weight loss/bariatric surgery, women’s services (including labor, delivery, birthing, and delivery), and a wound treatment center.
Quality of care concerns
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sends surveyors to conduct on-site inspections, review medical records, and interview healthcare providers at accredited hospitals. When surveyors identify quality of care concerns, they may issue violations to the offending hospital.
Since January 2014, Clear Lake Regional Medical Center has been cited with 10 violations by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for quality of care concerns as a result of these on-site surveyor visits.
The most two recent violations were on October 4, 2017, for violation of patient rights to care in a safe setting, and failure of the hospital to follow its own grievance policy. These violations stem from an incident where a patient complained about nursing care, but the hospital could provide no evidence that it investigated or followed up on the patient’s complaint.
As a former hospital administrator, I recognize that the grievance process provides hospital leaders with an opportunity to gain first-hand information about how care is being delivered in the hospital. If hospital leaders take advantage of this information, they can improve care; if they ignore it, it tends to create an environment of indifference to patient concerns on the part of healthcare providers.
In my experience as a medical malpractice attorney, I have handled several cases involving care at this hospital. Through these cases, I have learned that Clear Lake Regional Medical Center shares a governing board (hospital leadership) with Mainland Medical Center. The shared hospital leadership between two facilities makes the grievance process even more important.
On June 9, 2017, Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, in Webster, received two additional violations for violating patient rights and patient rights to care in a safe setting. The Medicare/Medicaid surveyor found that a patient had been diagnosed with acute psychosis and was deemed to be a substantial risk of serious harm to self or others, but was not placed on direct one-on-one observation. As a result, the patient escaped from his ER room, left the hospital, car-jacked a visitor’s vehicle, and caused a fatal car crash, killing one person and seriously injuring himself.
On February 28, 2017, the hospital received an additional violation from Medicare/Medicaid, for a violation of infection control officer responsibilities. The Medicare/Medicaid surveyor noted that the facility failed to maintain cleanliness in 11 out of 11 examination rooms.
Infection control is an important function for hospitals. In a separate oversight program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require accredited hospitals to report on a variety of performance measures, including infection rates for Clostridium difficile (C. diff.).
Based on the most recent Medicare/Medicaid data available, Clear Lake Regional Medical Center has a C. diff. infection rate that is higher than the national benchmark, in terms of indicators including predicted cases, patient days, and intestinal infections.
On November 18, 2015, Medicare/Medicaid cited Clear Lake Regional Medical Center with another violation. The surveyor found that the hospital did not have an adequate number of registered nurses (RNs) and other personnel on duty to provide safe nursing care to patients in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
As an experienced medical malpractice attorney, I have handled numerous cases where low staffing has led to poor patient care and outcomes. Patients and family members have shared their experiences with me that nursing calls buttons have gone unanswered for extended periods of time and having to go down the hallway to look for a nurse.
On August 11, 2015, the hospital received an additional violation for failing to make adequate discharge planning arrangements for multiple patients. This is an important nursing and case management function to make sure that patients are adequately prepared to go home without having a setback in their health status.
On January 17, 2014, the Medicare/Medicaid surveyor cited Clear Lake Regional Medical Center with three violations. The first violation was for inadequate registered nursing (RN) supervision of nursing care to multiple patients. The second violation found that the director of dietary services was not ensuring sanitary conditions in the hospital kitchens. The third violation was for inadequate infection control supervision for a patient receiving hemodialysis treatment.
We are here to help
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured from health care provided at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, call Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas, at 281-580-8800, for a free consultation about your potential case.
Robert Painter is a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who files medical negligence lawsuits against hospitals, pharmacies, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. In 2017, he was recognized as one of Houston’s top lawyers by H Texas magazine.