Santa Clara County Will Not Fine in Hospital Waste Cases
Three hospitals in Santa Clara County will not be fined for illegally sending untreated medical waste to a San Jose landfill, county officials said this week, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Nicole Pullman, the county's hazardous-materials program manager, said the incidents were "not intentional, but mistakes, and [the hospitals] were not trying to conceal anything." She added, "We've made it very clear to them that it's not going to be something that's going to be allowed in the future."
Pullman said the facilities have submitted corrective action plans.
Each hospital, however, will have to pay $3,500 to reimburse the county for time officials spent investigating the incidents.
The hospitals are:
- Kaiser Permanente's Santa Teresa Hospital in San Jose;
- Los Gatos Community Hospital; and
- O'Connor Hospital in San Jose.
The untreated medical waste was sent to the Guadalupe landfill in San Jose.
Joe Morse, landfill district manager, said the landfill temporarily had banned deliveries of treated medical waste following the incidents. However, the ban was lifted Thursday.
There has been an increase in random checks for untreated medical waste at the urging of state regulators, according to the Mercury News.
The county also is requiring Kaiser and O'Connor to co-sponsor two seminars to educate other health care providers in the county about proper medical waste disposal (Feder Ostrov/Bailey, San Jose Mercury News, 6/15). 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.