NYC Ambulatory Surgical Center Linked to Joan Rivers' Death Loses Accreditation


Yorkville Endoscopy, the ambulatory surgical center where comedian Joan Rivers died, loses accreditation.

On Jan. 9, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued letter to Tricia Dougherty, the director of operations at Yorkville Endoscopy, which confirmed that from Jan. 31, the New York City clinic will not be eligible to receive any federal funds for the services provided to Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries.

"After a careful review of the facts, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services has determined that Yorkville Endoscopy LLC no longer meets the Conditions for Coverage for a supplier of Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) services," per the letter.

The loss of accreditation is a big blow for the clinic as most of the people over the age of 65 years who receive insurance through the federal Medicare program will no longer be able to use their insurance at the clinic. Yorkville Endoscopy will also not receive Medicaid payments for the poor people.

The clinic was involved in a series of errors when Rivers visited the clinic for what was supposed to be a routine endoscopy in late August 2014. However, Rivers stopped breathing while being operated and was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital where she died in early September 2014.

An inspection found that the clinic failed to meet certain standards, including those for management and surgical services. The investigation in Rivers death revealed that Yorkville Endoscopy did not notice that her vital signs were weakening for at least 15 minutes prior to her cardiac arrest. The investigation also found that Rivers' pulse and blood pressure had also decreased while she was being operated.

The doctors in-charge of taking care of Rivers failed to identify her declining conditions, which led to the death of the comedian. The investigation report also highlighted that Rivers was given higher than normal dose of sedation in error before the surgery. The federal investigation also found that doctors who were operating on Rivers also took cell phone pictures of the comedian, when she lay sedated on the operating table.

Dr. Lawrence Cohen, the medical director of Yorkville Endoscopy stepped down from his post after the Rivers' death. However, he revealed that the clinic will appeal the decision and communicate with relevant authorities to reverse the decision. Dr. Cohen is no longer offering his services to the clinic. 

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