A Texas hospital that is the first in the country to require patients with a heart condition to undergo an MRI before they can receive their blood transfusions has been placed on an emergency list by the American Heart Association.
The hospital’s emergency list is an official position of the American College of Cardiology, which has urged hospitals to be more patient-friendly and transparent.
The Texas Tribune reported that the hospital, which was named after a prominent Texas surgeon who had recently died, is on the list after a Texas Health and Human Services Department inspector wrote a letter to the hospital in March, saying the hospital is not complying with federal guidelines.
The report does not indicate whether the inspector’s concerns were specific to Texas.
The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston did not respond to a request for comment.
The health department’s investigation of the hospital began after an employee with knowledge of the matter said she discovered the inspector had filed a complaint against the hospital because she didn’t believe the hospital was following its own policy.
The audit found that the office of the chief operating officer at the hospital had “inappropriately and without sufficient reason” granted the emergency list, according to the inspector, who requested anonymity.
The investigation is ongoing, the inspector said in a letter sent to the school in March.
The university said it has a “very robust internal investigation program” to identify potential violations of the HIPAA rules.
A spokesman for the health department did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
In May, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospital Group said it was temporarily suspending the use of the emergency blood transfusion list, citing the inspector general’s findings.
The school has since followed the lead of several other large hospital chains and the American Hospital Association.
“While the university is confident in our internal processes, we are taking steps to implement the recommendations of the inspector and make sure our processes are robust and comply with HIPAA,” the school said in an email.
The college’s list is not the only example of hospitals taking steps that may violate HIPAA.
In March, the hospital chain, Emory University Hospital, was placed on a list by an inspector general, after it issued a memo saying it had not followed its own HIPAA guidelines.
Emory said it had followed all rules, including those for patient privacy.
“We will take the appropriate steps as needed,” the hospital said in March in a statement to the Chicago Tribune.
A spokeswoman for Emory did not reply to a message seeking comment on whether the hospital has been disciplined.
In addition to the Emory and Texas hospitals, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the National Education Association, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners have also called for hospitals to adopt policies that allow blood transfuse patients to receive blood without an MRI.
“It’s a no-brainer,” said Steven Bock, a health care law professor at the University at Buffalo.
“Hospitals need to be as transparent as possible and they need to have the capacity to change that.
If they don’t, then they will be seen as less patient-centered.”
The U.K. also announced this month that it was ending its “gold standard” of blood donation that requires patients to undergo a CT scan before receiving their blood.
The new rules, which take effect this month, require that blood donors have undergone an MRI to confirm the donor’s identity, a process known as “gene scanning,” in order to receive their transfusions.
has been one of the largest donors to the global medical effort, with some 70,000 people donating a total of around $100 billion in blood this year.
While many countries have begun to adopt “gold standards” for blood donation, the new rules do not require that patients undergo a scan to confirm a donor’s identities.