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N.Y. clinic that treated Joan Rivers gets accreditation reprieve

/ Source: Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York outpatient clinic where comedian Joan Rivers was treated a week before her death last year will have until March to fix its problems so it can retain its federal accreditation and funding, a government health agency said.

Rivers, a brash, pioneering comedian who broke new ground for women in stand-up comedy, suffered cardiac arrest during an examination of her throat and vocal cords at Yorkville Endoscopy on Manhattan's Upper East Side. She died on Sept. 4 at the age of 81 in a New York hospital.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said on Monday the clinic did not meet the conditions for coverage as a supplier of ambulatory surgical services and would be terminated at the end of January.

However, in a letter to the clinic released on Friday the CMS postponed the date.

"CMS hereby extends the date of termination by 30 days until March 2, 2015," the agency said.

No one was immediately available at the clinic to comment.

If Yorkville Endoscopy does not fix problems that were uncovered during an investigation by the New York State Department of Health, it will not be reimbursed for services to Medicare beneficiaries under the program.

The health department cited numerous problems, including no medical records of consent for all the procedures performed on Rivers. It also said the doctor failed to detect her deteriorating vital signs.

The CMS said an unannounced survey will be conducted to determine if the clinic is in compliance.

Melissa Rivers, the only child of the comedian, has hired lawyers to investigate the circumstances surrounding her mother's death.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Andre Grenon)