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State moves to revoke Cottage Hospital license

Galesburg's Cottage Hospital, shown here on Jan. 7, was issued a notice of license revocation on Feb. 18 from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Jane Carlson
Tri States Public Radio
Galesburg's Cottage Hospital, shown here on Jan. 7, was issued a notice of license revocation on Feb. 18 from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Though a large banner hangs outside Cottage Hospital saying the facility is “temporarily closed,” state health officials have notified the hospital that its license is being revoked.

Tri States Public Radio obtained a notice of license revocation from the Illinois Department of Public Health dated Feb. 18.

It states Cottage Hospital “demonstrated a substantial and continued failure to comply” with regulations, creating “serious risks to patient health and safety.”

IDPH spokesperson Melaney Arnold said Cottage Hospital has 10 days from receipt of that notice to request a hearing to show why the license should not be revoked.

Because Cottage officials received the notice on Feb. 22, the hospital has until Thursday, March 4, to request the hearing, or IDPH will officially revoke the hospital’s license, Arnold said.

The Galesburg hospital owned by SBJ Group, Inc., of Austin, Texas, suspended operations on Jan. 8, days before it was set to lose Medicaid funding over a host of violations.

IDPH was tasked by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) to survey Cottage Hospital in late 2021 to ensure compliance with CMS conditions of participation.

That ultimately led to the hospital’s Medicaid program being terminated.

But while IDPH investigators were conducting the CMS survey in November and December, they were also conducting a full licensure survey per Illinois state code.

The notice of license revocation sent to Cottage Hospital on Feb. 18 outlines the following:

  • IDPH conducted the full licensure survey at Cottage Hospital between Dec. 7 and Dec. 13.
  • On Dec. 17, IDPH notified Cottage of license violations related to: staffing, personnel records, safety rules, nursing records, nursing services and administration, patient care, use of restraints and seclusion, infection control, pharmacy or drug and medicine requirements, pharmacy and therapeutics committees, the Health Care Worker Background Check Code, and diagnostic, treatment, and physical facilities for psychiatric facilities.
  • Also on Dec. 17, IDPH requested Cottage submit a plan of corrective action within 10 days.
  • Between Dec. 21 and 23, IDPH conducted a follow-up survey and found issues related to governing body (staffing) had not been resolved. The notice states this continued to cause, or was likely to cause, serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to a patient.
  • Cottage submitted an initial plan of correction on Dec. 28, and a second one on Dec. 29.
  • Also on Dec. 29, Cottage was notified it would be terminated from the Medicare program on Jan. 14.
  • IDPH notified Cottage on Dec. 30 of an ongoing violation discovered during the Dec. 21 to Dec. 23 survey and requested a plan of correction be submitted within 10 days.
  • On Jan. 5, IDPH notified Cottage of violations of the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code identified between Dec. 7 and Dec. 13 and requested a plan of correction within 10 days. According to IDPH, Cottage failed to submit the plan or demonstrate compliance with those violations.
  • Also on Jan. 5, Cottage notified IDPH it would be ceasing all operations as of Jan. 7.
  • On Jan. 7, IDPH notified Cottage the plans of correction the hospital submitted on Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 were unacceptable, failing to address or correct violations. IDPH then requested a modified plan of correction within 10 days.
  • Cottage submitted a modified plan of correction on Jan. 13, but it was also deemed unacceptable. IDPH noted the modified plan failed to address ongoing violations identified in the surveys. It also failed to adequately address Cottage’s failure to employ and ensure qualified personnel to meet patient needs and carry out the functions of the hospital, according to IDPH.
  • Cottage’s Medicare agreement was terminated on Jan. 14.
  • On Jan. 21, IDPH presented a proposal to the state’s hospital licensing board to revoke Cottage Hospital’s license. The board voted to proceed with an instant action to revoke.

If Cottage Hospital does request a hearing by March 4, officials then must file a written answer to the allegations of noncompliance within another 10 days, according to the notice.

This week OSF HealthCare announced it signed a letter of intent to purchase real estate, equipment, and other assets from Cottage Hospital.

OSF does not plan to offer inpatient services at the site but has not commented on what exactly it is purchasing and how it will be used.

Cottage Clinics continues to operate at a reduced capacity while it goes through bankruptcy proceedings.

Arnold said IDPH does not regulate medical clinics, only hospitals.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Copyright 2022 Tri States Public Radio. To see more, visit Tri States Public Radio.

Jane Carlson