State Regulators Issue Fines to 9 Hospitals for Patient Safety Lapses
On Thursday, the California Department of Public Health announced that nine hospitals had received a total of $550,000 in fines for serious patient safety violations, the Los Angeles Times reports (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 5/21).
Under a 2006 state law, hospitals must notify state regulators of all significant patient injuries (California Healthline, 4/14).
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 (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/21).
Hospitals Receiving Fines
The nine hospitals that received fines are:
- Alameda County Medical Center, Oakland received one fine of $75,000;
- Hi-Desert Medical Center, Joshua Tree received one fine of $50,000;
- Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae received one fine of $50,000;
- Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, Mission Viejo received one fine of $50,000;
- Parkview Community Hospital, Riverside received one fine of $50,000;
- Pomerado Hospital, San Diego County received one fine of $50,000;
- Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego received one fine of $50,000;
- Scripps Green Hospital, La Jolla received two fines for a total of $125,000; and
- Tri-City Medical Center, Oceanside received one fine of $50,000 (California Department of Public Health release, 5/20).
After receiving fines, hospitals are required to submit a plan to the state outlining how they intend to prevent future errors. Hospitals also can appeal theÂ penalties by requesting an administrative hearing within 10 days of notification (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/21).
Adding Up the Fines
Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director of DPH's Center for Health Care Quality, said the department has issued 156 penalties against 108 hospitals since the state began issuing fines in 2007. Forty-one fines have been appealed, she added.
Billingsley said the department has collected nearly $3 million of the $4.8 million it has issued in fines (Los Angeles Times, 5/21).
Links and headlines to other coverage of California's hospital fines appear below.
- "Local Hospitals Fined for Preventable Lapses" (Gardner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/20).
- "Parkview Community Hospital in Riverside Fined for Surgery that Left Man Without Kidneys" (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/20).
- "Highland Hospital Fined $75,000 for Medication Error" (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 5/20).
- "Mission Hospital Fined After Newborn Gets Morphine" (Perkes, Orange County Register, 5/20).
- "9 Hospitals Fined $550,000 by State for Poor Care" (Tayefe Mohajer, AP/Ventura County Star, 5/20).