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State restricts Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Pediatric ICU from accepting some new patients

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – California's Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has restricted Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital from accepting some new chronically ill children to its pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) after finding 49 deficiencies in a recent review.

Officials said Cottage has not met state standards under the California Children's Services (CCS) program, listing the following findings:

  • The PICU operating outside of its scope of the CCS PICU provider standards.
  • A delay in care and outgoing transports to a higher level of care.
  • Inadequate policies and procedures to guide PICU operations.
  • Failure to discuss adverse health outcomes in an organized way, act on findings, and implement strategies to reduce future adverse outcomes.

"DHCS has restricted CCS PICU admissions until the Department has assurances that the corrective actions will address deficiencies, especially those that are most egregious and require immediate action."

California Department of Health Care Services

The CCS program serves young people with chronic conditions, such as cancer or cerebral palsy, up to the age of 21.

According to Cottage Hospital, patients under the CCS program constitute around 20% of PICU patients and the prohibition of accepting new patients only applies to that segment of patients.

Additionally, Cottage Hospital made the distinction that the CCS site visit was not prompted by safety concerns and point to the zero patient harm events in 2022 and 2023.

DHCS said Cottage agreed to be placed on a corrective action plan on July 25 to hold the hospital accountable for providing quality care.

The hospital has come up with a plan to address all deficiencies, which the state is currently reviewing.

According to DHCS, the plan "will serve as the basis for implementing corrective actions and addressing deficiencies by specific timeframes."

"The CCS PICU admission restriction will remain in effect until an approved CAP is in place, and Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is notified by DHCS in writing that the restriction is lifted. Once the CAP is in place, failure to meet the CAP may result in escalated penalties, such as rescission of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital's PICU’s approval to participate in the CCS program."

California Department of Health Care Services

For the full Findings Report from the California Department of Health Care Services, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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