Report: State’s Enforcement of Patient Safety Laws Remains Lax
The California Department of Public Health is falling short in its enforcement of new patient safety laws designed to reduce medical errors and hospital acquired-infections, according to a Consumers Union report released Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The report focused on the enforcement of six laws passed in 2006 and 2008. The laws include measures requiring hospitals to:
- Release information about certain medical errors;
- Report vaccination rates of hospital workers; and
- Screen high-risk patients for certain infections.
Other laws require the state to inspect hospitals for patient safety plans and report certain adverse events.
The report praised DPH for effectively collecting information on medical errors, fining deficient hospitals and reporting adverse event information on the Internet.
However, Consumers Union noted much of the publicly released information is not readily accessible. The group also suggested that DPH has missed deadlines to implement the new patient safety laws and has not done enough to hold hospitals accountable for the new requirements.
DPH, CHA Refute Claims
Department of Public Health officials rejected the report's findings and argued that patient safety remains a major state priority. Officials also refuted claims that DPH had missed implementation deadlines for the patient safety laws.
The California Hospital Association disagreed with the report and said hospitals are working with the state to comply with the new requirements (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/18).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.