CA Sitting on Millions in Hospital Fines
Time marches on, and the state's coffers continue to grow. The minimum fine is now $75,000, up from $25,000, and as of April 1, the maximum fine rose from $100,000 to $125,000.
By my estimate, the fund will grow by at least $4 million a year.
Investigators are still processing dozens of additional adverse events that are backlogged. Half of the recent list of 10 penalties were for patients harmed in 2010 or 2011.
Lisa McGiffert, director of the Safe Patient Project for Consumers Union, says hospitals and patients should want this money to be used as the law specifies.
Involved in the earliest discussions of the law's implementation, McGiffert says "the money was supposed to make the system work better to monitor medical harm and implement better processes to prevent errors."
"That obviously isn't happening. California should be spending this money on improving patient safety instead of just letting it sit in the bank."
I agree. Kizer's project is such a worthy endeavor, the state should release the documents he needs to find answers. Think of the harm his report could prevent.
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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