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Clinic Where Joan Rivers Went Into Cardiac Arrest Given 2 More Months to Improve Standards

Entrance to emergency room at hospital
Federal regulators announced Jan. 15 that they will give Yorkville Endoscopy, the Manhattan clinic where Joan Rivers went into cardiac arrest, until March 2 to correct problems and retain its federal accreditation.
This is a reversal of a decision publicized just the week before, in which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that the clinic would no longer be reimbursed by the program starting Jan. 31. The agency declined to comment on why the deadline had been extended.
An unannounced inspection in the next two months will determine if the clinic has brought up its standards, it said.
Yorkville has come under scrutiny since Rivers, 81, had a heart attack during what should have been a routine throat-scope procedure Aug. 28. She went into a coma after suffering severe brain damage resulting from a lack of oxygen, and died Sept. 4 after a week of treatment at Mount Sinai, a New York hospital.
The clinic had been given until Jan. 7 to put in place corrective measures in response to problems identified by federal investigators. Rivers’ family, in particular her daughter Melissa, has also indicated plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the clinic.
Deficient in Four Categories

A routine check performed a few days after Rivers’s death by the New York State Health Department found that Yorkville was deficient in four important categories regarding patient care and safety. A federal Department of Health and Human Services investigation then found that Rivers had been photographed by a staff member while under sedation, that the clinic had failed to properly document how much of a certain sedative called propofol was used, and failed to intervene in a timely manner in response to Rivers’s “deteriorating vital signs.”
As is nearly always the case with the treatment or passing of celebrities, patient privacy and data safety has also been a part of the discussion. Regulators said that the clinic is not properly safeguarding patient records. A mass transition to electronic medical records has exacerbated concerns about patient privacy in recent times, but most EMRs feature advanced security options, with special permissions associated with who is allowed to view patient files.
But as many medical experts have noted, there are human factors that affect patient data safety as much or more than electronic considerations.