A report of deficiencies at Lehigh Regional Medical Center cited by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and the federal Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been made public after officials visited the hospital in mid December.
Since the report and responses submitted by the hospital to correct problems, both hospital CEO Chris Rakunas and Chief Nursing Officer Jeannie Leake have been replaced. Reasons for their replacements were not mentioned in a report released this week by Robert L. Hammond, a vice president of LRMC owner Health Management Associates (HMA) in Naples.
Hammond announced new executives for LRMC, saying they have started working as interim officers.
The sudden disappearance a week ago of Rakunas, who had become active in Lehigh activities, left the community without any announcements as to why he and the head of nursing had left the hospital." Rackunas lives in Punta Gorda.
Hammond announced this week that Joanie Jeanette will serve as the new interim CEO and that Bo Pullley will serve as the new interim chief financial officer.
LRMC was cited in a 23-page report for violations ranging from lack of cleanliness to problems with medications and failure to keep proper treatment records.
According to the report, the violations "place all of the patients in the hospital at risk for receiving incorrect and unnecessary medication, potential side effects from these medications and possible death."
While HMA did not release information about the sudden disappearances, the new interim CEO Jeanette, according to news reports, said such surveys of hospitals by regulatory agencies are routine. She would not comment on personnel matters.
The hospital is a privately-run institution and is not a public hospital such as those in the Lee County Health Systems with hospitals in Cape Coral and Fort Myers.
Rumors had spread around Lehigh about what may have happened after some employees said Rackunas had been called to the home office in Naples and had returned to clean out his desk and leave the hospital without any explanation. Attempts by The Citizen to contact Rackunas have been unsuccessful.
He has been active in serval areas in Lehigh and was president of the Lehigh Acres Kiwanis Club and was active on the committee for the opening of a Volunteers in Medicine Health Clinic set to open this year in Lehigh Acres to treat patients without insurance.
The report can be viewed in pdf form by going to: lehighacrescitizen.com/pdf/news/513145_1.pdf.