Grady under inspection after patient’s fatal fall

A team of inspectors arrived this week at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital to conduct a federal survey of its care systems. The action comes in the wake of a patient’s death in a fall from an 11th-floor window.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is conducting the survey to make sure Grady meets the agency’s “conditions of participation’’ – to continue to receive funding from the government insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid.

Such “unannounced’’ visits typically last several days, and are common after events such as the Sept. 6 death of Gloria Shavers, 60, of Atlanta.

According to a recent AJC article, a federal investigative report found that Grady did not have enough staff that night to provide the kind of individual monitoring that a physician said Shavers needed. And a window that should have been locked was open, the report said, according to the AJC article.

Grady has said it is taking action to fix the problems, including ensuring that each of the safety-net hospital’s windows is properly sealed.

Grady’s accreditation with CMS is on hold while the survey is being done, Lee Millman, a spokeswoman for the federal agency’s regional office in Atlanta, said Wednesday.

CMS typically uses state regulators and consultants to serve as the visiting inspectors in these hospital surveys. The majority of the inspectors have a clinical background.

The team often finds deficiencies in care, but so-called ‘‘immediate jeopardy’’ findings — the most serious problems — are less common.

The end result of the process is that almost all hospitals correct the problems and avoid losing their federal funding. Here’s a recent GHN article on the CMS visit.

In patient safety situations, Millman said, “the hospital, the state and CMS are all working together to make sure that there is delivery of quality health care in a safe environment.’’