State Issues Fines To 7 Hospitals for Significant Lapses in Patient Safety
On Tuesday, the California Department of Public Health announced its latest round of fines, charging seven state hospitals for serious patient safety violations, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Under a 2006 state law, hospitals must notify state regulators of all significant patient injuries.
Prior to 2009, the state issued $25,000 fines for each violation. Starting in January 2009, the sanctions increased to $50,000 for a hospital's first violation, $75,000 for its second and $100,000 for its third.
Hospitals Receiving Fines
In the latest round of fines, Southwest Healthcare Systems in Murrieta became the first hospital in the state to receive a $100,000 sanction. The hospital received three fines for a total of $225,000. Hospital officials say they plan to appeal the latest fines (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 4/14).
The six other hospitals that received fines are:
- California Pacific Medical Center, Pacific Campus received one fine for $25,000;
- Kaiser Foundation Hospital, Fontana received two fines for a total of $75,000;
- Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego received one fine for $25,000;
- St. Bernadine Medical Center, San Bernardino received one fine for $50,000;
- St. Joseph's Hospital, Orange received one fine for $50,000; and
- Sutter Davis Hospital received one fine for $25,000 (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 3/14).
Adding Up the Fines
Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director of DPH's Center for Health Care Quality, said the department has issued 146 penalties against 96 hospitals since the state began issuing fines in 2007. Thirty-five fines are being appealed, she added.
Billingsley said the department has collected $2.87 million of the $4.2 million it has issued in fines.
She also noted that the publication of the penalties has encouraged some hospitals to improve patient care (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/13).
Links and headlines for other coverage of California's hospital fines appear below.
- "California Fines Sutter Davis Hospital in Patient's Death" (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 4/14).
- "CPMC Fined for Surgery Mistake" (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/14).
- "Hospital Fined for Sponge Mistake" (DarcÃ©, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/13).
- "Parent Company of Two Hospitals in Southwest Riverside County Leads Way in Fines" (Hill, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/13).
- "State Fines O.C. Hospital in Patient's Death" (Perkes, Orange County Register, 4/13).
- "Two Sutter Hospitals Get Penalties" (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 4/13).
- "Hospitals in San Francisco, Davis Among 7 Fined for Endangering Patients" (Tayefe Mohajer, AP/Contra Costa Times, 4/13).