Hospitals fined $650k for patient safety violations in California

A dozen California hospitals, including renowned University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, are fined with a total of $650,000 for patient safety violations.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) yesterday announced that the following hospitals failed to comply with requirements that would likely cause serious injury or death to their patients: Alameda Hospital, Brotman Medical Center, California Men's Colony, Dominican Hospital, Emanuel Medical Center, Kaiser Foundation Hospital & Rehabilitation Center, LAC+USC Medical Center, Riverside Community Hospital, Stanislaus Surgical Hospital, Sutter Delta Medical Center, Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and UCSF Medical Center.

"Most of these are preventable medical errors," said Ralph Montano, spokesman for the California Department of Public Health, in a Los Angeles Times article yesterday. "Either someone was harmed or killed or likely to be harmed."

For example, USCF Medical Center surgical staff left a sponge in a patient because a nurse failed to keep track of surgical objects, according to The Bay Citizen article.

A Kaiser Permanente representative said that these types of events are rare.

"It is extremely unusual to have any incident in which the wrong procedure is performed," said Max Villalobos, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente in the Napa-Solano area, in the Citizen article.

Depending on the number of violations, the penalties for the cited hospital range from $50,000 to $100,000, according to a press release. Since 2007, the state public health department has cited 124 hospitals with 198 penalties that resulted in $4.6 million in collected fines, according to the Times article.

For more information
- read the CDPH statement
- read Los Angeles Times article
- read The Bay Citizen article

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