Kaiser, UC San Diego among 13 hospitals fined for patient safety risks

Kaiser and the University of California, San Diego Medical Center, are among the 13 California hospitals facing a combined $825,000 in fines for risking patient safety, including leaving foreign objects in surgical patients and a case of sexual misconduct.

Of the 13 hospitals, Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco made up three of the violations, the California Department of Public Health reported Friday.

This is the first administrative penalty for Kaiser San Diego, according to UT San Diego News. State officers said the hospital left a foreign object in a surgical patient, for which it faces a $50,000 penalty. Kaiser San Francisco, however, faces a second administrative penalty for similarly leaving a foreign object in a surgical patient, leading to a $75,000 fine. Kaiser Oakland faces a $75,000 fine for not following policies and procedures relating to its cardiac paging system.

Other hospitals in the state also face similar penalties for surgical errors. Mad River Community Hospital in Humboldt and Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Los Angeles each face a $50,000 fine for leaving a foreign object in a surgical patient.

Foreign objects left in surgical patients make up more than a quarter (26 percent) of the state penalties against hospitals, according to UT San Diego News. Another quarter (24 percent) is for medication errors. Eighteen percent are for patient safety issues and 17 percent for patient care violations.

Chapman Medical Center in Orange County faces a $75,000 fine for its second offense of failing to protect a patient from sexual misconduct. According to the Los Angeles Times, the incident occurred in 2010 when a female patient went to Chapman's emergency room, a male nurse kissed and fondled the patient and exposed himself. The hospital has since implemented numerous patient care initiatives, the article noted.

Among the other violations, Chinese Hospital in San Francisco failed to implement its established policies and procedures for inserting a feeding tube, resulting in a $50,000 penalty.

Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno failed to provide safe, effective medication, leading to a $50,000 fine.

San Joaquin General Hospital did not follow protocol related to patient falls for a $25,000 penalty.

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center faces a $75,000 fine for its second offense of not providing ongoing assessment of a patient.

Southwest Healthcare System in Riverside didn't provide emergency measures for a patient in its eighth penalty for a $100,000 fine.

And University of California, San Diego Medical Center faces its fourth penalty for not providing considerate, respectful care, resulting in a $75,000 fine.

California state law requires that hospitals report errors and submit a corrective action plan, according to UT San Diego News. Since the law went into effect in 2007, 129 California hospitals have faced 224 administrative penalties, the article noted.

For more information:
- see the statement from the state health department
- here's the UT San Diego News article
- read the LA Times article

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