Proposed Calif. Program Would Target Surgical Items Left in Patients
California health officials have proposed using $800,000 in administrative penalties collected from hospitals since 2007 for a collaborative project to study why surgical tools and other items are inadvertently left inside patients, HealthLeaders Media reports.
Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director for the California Department of Public Health, said that inadvertently retained foreign objects, such as catheters and sponges, account for 18.6% of the adverse events reported by the roughly 450 hospitals in the state that perform invasive procedures.
According to state documents submitted to the state Legislature, the "High-Risk Operating Room Department Safety Collaborative" aims "to assist hospitals in developing a culture of safety and improving communication within the operating room, with the intent to reduce or eliminate adverse events."
According to Billingsley, the proposed collaborative will "engage health care providers in implementing identified best practices to reduce the retention of a foreign object during surgery."
A number of hospitals throughout the state will be recruited to participate in the project.
Billingsley said that despite the state budget deficit, she is confident that the Legislature will approve the program because the funding is allocated for health care quality improvement (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 2/1).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.