Measures Help California Increase Regulation of Hospital Medical Errors
Three related laws that went into effect two years ago have helped the state step up its response to hospital medical errors, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The measures, introduced by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose), require hospitals to promptly report 27 types of hospital errors to the state health department and the health department to investigate those reports within 48 hours. Previously, the state did not impose any deadlines for reporting or investigating hospital errors.
The new laws also significantly increased hospital fines for errors that create "an immediate jeopardy to the health or safety of a patient." Prior to 2007, the state fined hospitals as little as $50 per incident. Under the new laws, fines increased to $25,000 per incident beginning in 2007 and then to $100,000 this year. Â
Reported Errors, Fines Imposed
Since the laws took effect in 2007, hospitals in the state reported more than 1,000 errors.
After adjusting for hospital population, San Francisco has the highest reported medical error rate in the state, with one incident for every 282 patients discharged annually.
In the two years since the measures went into effect, the state has imposed 87 fines of $25,000 each for serious medical errors at hospitals, according to state records (Williams, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/9).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.