Johns Hopkins All Children's dodges millions of dollars in fines for safety issues

State regulators could've fined St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital millions of dollars for failing to report numerous incidents of patient harm. Instead, they slapped the hospital with a $4,500 fine, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

"That's lunch for an executive meeting," Robert Field, PhD, a professor at Philadelphia-based Drexel University and expert in healthcare regulation, told the Times.

A spokesperson from the Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration, which regulates health systems in the state, declined to answer the Times' questions about how fines are determined. However, the spokesperson noted the agency is still reviewing the findings of a recent inspection at the hospital, so more fines could be pending.

The Times also found Johns Hopkins All Children's $4,500 fine was not an anomaly for the state. Of the 377 fines given to Florida hospitals since 2014, only 10 percent exceeded $5,000.

Johns Hopkins All Children's heart unit first faced scrutiny last November, when the Times published an investigative report highlighting high mortality and complication rates among heart patients. After the article's publication, the hospital reported 13 adverse events to the state. Six events involved patient deaths, and some dated back to 2016.

A spokesperson for Johns Hopkins All Children's referred all of the Times' questions to state regulators.

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