Nine California hospitals have been penalized $25,000 per infraction for patient-care violations under a new state law.
The penalties are the first to be issued by the California Department of Public Health for licensure violations that could cause immediate harm or jeopardy to patients health and safety. The law went into effect in January.
The fined hospitals are: 265-bed Kaiser Foundation Hospital Santa Clara; Martin Luther King-Harbor Hospital, Los Angeles; 251-bed Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center; 79-bed Garden Grove Hospital and Medical Center; 122-bed Feather River Hospital, Paradise; 263-bed Enloe Medical Center, Chico; 55-bed Hanford Community Medical Center; 371-bed St. Agnes Medical Center, Fresno; and 176-bed Universal Health Services, Rancho Springs, Murietta. King-Harbor and Feather River had two infractions each while the rest of the hospitals each had one.
The infractions included improper medication dispensing, unsafe food handling and inadequate on-call emergency physician coverage. King-Harbor, which closed its emergency room and inpatient services in August after losing its CMS contract, was fined for two incidents where patients failed to receive proper attention in its emergency department.
Bruce Chernof, director and chief medical officer of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, which oversees King-Harbor, called both incidents unacceptable, adding that his office is reviewing the penalties with legal counsel. The hospitals have 10 days to request a hearing from the state to appeal the penalties. -- by Rebecca Vesely
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