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Lancaster City Hall. (Rachel McDevitt/WITF)

(Lancaster) — Lancaster General Hospital plans to fill a newly-created executive position as part of state-ordered corrective actions after failing Department of Health inspections.

The corrective actions are outlined in an inspection report recently made public. It gained attention when independent journalist Walter F. Roche, Jr., reported it on his blog

Inspectors found that in October, a cognitively impaired patient left the hospital sometime after 9 p.m. wearing scrubs and shoes and walked more than one mile in 49-degree weather, the report states. The patient eventually entered another health care facility and was identified by staff.

“Based on a review of the facility’s compliance history, it was determined that the facility’s chief executive officer did not provide the supervision and oversight necessary to ensure staff consistently provided the necessary care and treatment needed by the patients,” the Feb. 15 report states. 

An emailed statement attributed to president and chief executive officer Jan Bergen said the health system accepts the department’s findings and is working to improve patient safety and quality of care.

“We deeply regret that our patient care fell short of the standards for excellence our staff fulfill each day,” Bergen said.

As part of a corrective action plan established with the Department of Health, it will hire a “chief operating and integration officer,” said LGH spokesman John Lines. That person will oversee clinical operations. Bergen will remain CEO.

The action plan also involves better labeling cognitively impaired patients for staff monitoring, Lines said.

It’s the hospital’s third citation this year, a point noted in the health department’s report.

In November 2018, LGH failed to adequately investigate and report abuse allegations. That citation came days after police charged a hospital pulmonary therapist with sexual assault, abuse of a care-dependent person and related charges.

In February 2018, the hospital was cited for failing to administer respiratory treatments due to staff and medication shortages.

“In each of these situations, the facility had developed and implemented a plan of correction,” the report states. However, “The facility failed to maintain compliance thus placing patients at risk for harm.”