Consumers Union Calls for Calif. To Do More To Prevent Medical Errors
Consumers Union recently claimed that California has not done enough to enforce patient safety laws after it disbanded its Healthcare-Associated Infection Advisory Committee and failed to move forward on other infection-reduction initiatives, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The group said that about 240,000 California patients develop infections resulting from hospitalizations each year. It added that the infections have contributed to an estimated 13,500 deaths annually, at a cost of $3.1 billion per year.
Consumers Union also said that medical errorsÂ contribute to the deaths ofÂ as many as 10,000 Californians each year and injure about 140,000 residents.
Last month, Consumers Union published a report alleging that the California Department of Public Health has:
- Failed to publicly release data on vaccinations;Â
- Delayed implementing a program designed to help reduce hospital-acquired infections;
- Not adopted regulations that would align with CDC guidelines on infection prevention; and
- Failed to publish information on how hospitals have worked to reduce bloodstream and surgical site infections.
Consumers Union also said it is unclear whether the department has:
- Enforced requirements that hospitals adopt infection prevention measures;
- Instituted hospital inspections to ensure that patient safety plans are in place;
- Ensured that hospitals are screening for infections, reporting cases and informing patients when medical errors occur.
Health Department ResponseHealth department officials said they are preparing a detailed response to Consumers Union's questions and criticisms (Steinberg, Contra Costa Times, 4/20). 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.