California Hospital Error Data Reveals Fines, Gaps In Reporting

California Watch: "California regulators have fined hospitals just over $1 million for failing to report incidents such as leaving a foreign object in a patient after a surgery or operating on the wrong person, according to data released to California Watch by the California Department of Public Health." Reporting such errors is required by California law, and regulators assess a $100-a-day fee on hospitals that fail to do so. The records obtained by California Watch span the period from July 2007 to November 2009. In one glaring example, "Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside … was twice fined more than $40,000 for failing to report that an object was left in a patient. The hospital was also fined more than $30,000 over an unreported patient death during or within 24 hours of a surgery. A spokesman from the facility, which appealed both fines related to leaving an object in a patient, did not return a call Friday" (Jewett, 4/12).

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