California fines 13 hospitals $1M-plus for patient safety issues

The California Department of Public Health collectively issued $1,052,505 in fines to 13 California hospitals for licensing compliance issues that caused or were likely to cause patient harm or death.

The penalized incidents occurred between 2012 and 2017. Here is a breakdown of the penalties:

1. Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster incurred a $75,000 penalty for a patient death associated with a fall in 2012.

2. The health department fined Martinez-based Contra Costa Regional Medical Center $33,000 for failing to protect against interpatient abuse in a 2017 incident.

3. The health department issued two fines to Corona Regional Medical Center in Magnolia for incidents that occurred in 2015 and 2016. The 2015 incident yielded a $44,887 fine for patient harm associated with a burn incurred during care. The hospital received a $49,500 fine for a 2016 incident involving a misplaced central line that went undiagnosed for more than 24 hours and led to a patient getting an amputation. 

4. Fremont (Calif.) Hospital incurred a $75,000 fine for failing to promptly intervene when a patient became severely dehydrated and stopped breathing in 2016.

5. The health department fined Hemet (Calif.) Valley Medical Center $49,500 for retention of a foreign object in a patient after a 2016 surgery.

6. John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio incurred a $75,000 fine for failing to ensure on-call physician coverage was available for a patient in 2017.

7. Health officials fined Perris-based Kindred Hospital Riverside $75,000 for failing to develop a plan of care to prevent a patient from removing her tracheal tube in 2016.

8. Madera (Calif.) Community Hospital was fined $47,025 for a 2016 incident where a medical error resulted in an unnecessary surgery and removal of part of a patient's colon.

9. Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento received a $75,000 fine for a medication error that led to a patient's death in 2016.

10. The health department issued two fines to Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center in Riverside for incidents in 2016. The first fine was $75,000 for an error involving a central line placement that led to several procedures that contributed to a patient's death. The second fine was $75,000 for a medication error that led to a patient's death.

11. Health officials fined St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles $71,250 for a patient death associated with a fall in 2016.

12. St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard incurred a $75,000 penalty for errors that resulted in the malfunction of a heart-lung machine during surgery that led to a patient's death in 2015.

13. The health department issued two fines to Ventura (Calif.) County Medical Center for incidents in 2015 and 2016. The hospital received a $69,930 fine for failing to ensure a suicidal patient was provided a safe transfer to the inpatient psychiatric unit in 2015. The hospital received a $87,412 fine for failing to ensure there were sufficient personnel to keep a patient safe in the emergency department in a 2016 incident.

The department issued $549,555 in similar fines to nine California hospitals on Dec. 28, 2017.

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