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Calhoun Liberty Hospital Reaches Settlement With AHCA Over Patient Death

The Calhoun Liberty Hospital has reached a settlement deal with Florida’s health care oversight agency. The hospital faced steep fines over its handling of a woman who was forcibly discharged from the facility and later died. The state Agency for Healthcare Administration conducted an audit of the hospital shortly after Barbara Dawson's death. It found numerous problems with patient records and procedures and staff training and ordered the hospital to pay fines. Hospital spokeswoman Sandi Poreda says the hospital will pay less than a third of the $56,000 in accumulated penalties it was hit with by the state.

“Under the settlement agreement, the hospital has until April of next year to pay $14, 500. And the balance of the fine, About 42,000 will be held in abeyance pending the continued implementation of agency directed quality assurance measures for two years," Poreda says.

he hospital is located in a mostly rural area of the panhandle and is very small. It has conducted fundraisers and bake sales to pay its penalties. It's also the only hospital for miles, and residents had expressed concerns the incident could lead to its closure, creating a medical desert.  The hospital is still facing a civil lawsuit over Dawson's death.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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