State Issues Fines to 11 Hospitals for Major Patient Safety Lapses
On Thursday, the California Department of Public Health announced its latest round of $25,000 fines against 11 state hospitals for serious patient safety violations, the Los Angeles Times reports.
About half of the citations occurred because hospital staff left foreign objects in patients after surgery (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 9/25).
Under a 2007 state law, hospitals must notify California regulators of all incidents that put patients at risk of immediate harm. State officials can then assess $25,000 penalties for each violation (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/25).
Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director of DPH's Center for Health Care Quality, said the department has issued 115 penalties against 80 hospitals since the law took effect. Â
She said the state has imposed $2.87 million in fines and collected $1.6 million so far. Twenty-nine fines remain in an appeals process, she said (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/24).
The fines are allocated to efforts aimed at identifying the underlying cause of the errors and to help hospitals adopt strategies to avoid them (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 9/25).
Last year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed legislation that will double hospital fines to $50,000 for patient safety violations that occur this year. The latest round of fines pertains to incidents that occurred in 2007 and 2008 (California Healthline, 9/8).
HealthLeaders Media lists each of the 11 hospitals that received fines and describes some of the violations.
Links and headlines to other coverage of California's hospital fines appear below.
- "State Fines Two San Diego County Hospitals for Preventable Errors" (Phan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/24).
- "Sutter Fined for Heart Surgery Mishap" (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 9/24).