California Hospitals Will Face Jump in Fines for Lapses in Care
Beginning in January, hospitals will face higher fines for violations that could affect patient safety, sparking concerns from attorneys and others about how the jump in fines will affect hospitals, the Los Angeles Daily Journal reports.
Last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed SB 541, which increases the maximum fine for hospital violations from $25,000.Â Within a three-year period, the law will permit hospitals to face fines of:
- $50,000 for a first violation;
- $75,000 for a second violation; and
- $100,000 for a third violation.
To date, California regulators have issued 61 citations under the 2007 law that gave the state Department of Public Health authority to issue the $25,000 fines.Â Only 10 hospitals have appealed the fines, but attorneys say the increased penalties will prompt more hospitals to fight the citations.Moreover, sources at public and private hospitals acknowledged the importance of reporting medical errors but questioned whether the increase in fines would do much to improve the quality of hospital care (George, Los Angeles Daily Journal, 10/8). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.