DHHS investigates Children's Hospital administrative concerns

By  | 

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, investigating complaints of regulatory violations at Children's Hospital in December, said Wednesday it found no evidence of such.

The state interviewed Children's Hospital & Medical Center CEO and its board president after examining a number of documents to see whether a doctor's competence and judgment are part of the review process; and that when there is a problem, the appropriate action is taken.

"These sorts of visits are standard procedure whenever DHHS receives a complaint," according to a response from the Children's Hospital board of directors. "While this investigation relates to ongoing litigation, please note that it was conducted and concluded prior to the lawsuit being filed."

A letter from DHHS to Dr. Richard Azizkhan, president and CEO of Children's Hospital & Medical Center, outlined three complaints:

    1. That the hospital failed to ensure staff physicians provided quality medical care to patients.

    2. That the hospital failed to take appropriate action when a physician fails to adhere to medical staff bylaws, regulations, and rules.

    3. That the hospital's board failed to ensure medical staff privileges were granted in accordance with medical staff bylaws and included review of the physician's character, competence, training, experience, and judgment.

The letter, issued Wednesday, states that between Dec. 27, 2018, and Jan. 3, 2019, DHHS reviewed medical staff meeting minutes, board meeting minutes, physician credentials, peer review reports, and medical staff bylaws during the course of its investigation. It also interviewed Azizkhan as well as Children's chief medical officer, Dr. Christopher Maloney.

"None of these allegations were substantiated," the letter states.

The investigation ended hours before a 6 On Your Side report revealed that 10 of the hospital's surgeons had resigned with concerns over patient care.

The board response also stated that it is "engaging experts from The Greeley Company to conduct an independent review of Children's policies and the application of those policies in the areas of quality of care and patient safety."

That review is expected to take place over the next few months, the board response states.

6 News contacted the lawyers who filed the Omaha complaint, who raised this question: Why are so many medical professionals leaving Children's?

Children's said it is committed to openness so it "can most effectively serve patients."