The State of California has fined 14 hospitals for serious medical errors that caused serious injury or death to patients. Since 2007, the state has collected more than $5,000,000 in fines that are used to improve the quality of care and to reduce medical errors.
According to the Orange County Register, “The size of each fine depends on how many times a hospital has previously been disciplined. The latest penalties were the fourth for Mission and the third for St. Jude.
Since the program started, so-called “adverse events” reported by hospitals to the state have declined by 12 percent, said Pam Dickfoss, an acting deputy director for the department. The top reason for the fines is medication errors, followed by leaving behind a “foreign object” during surgery.
“I do believe it is making a difference,” Dickfoss said of the program.
State programs such as this one in California, if administered properly, can help improve accountability and transparency which are two key elements in improving the overall quality of healthcare.
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