Tattling on Your Hospital
If you or a loved one has a bad experience at a hospital, is there any recourse, other than suing for malpractice?
In California, you should call the state Department of Public Health. They keep a record of “adverse events.” And if the states learns about an adverse event the hospital did not report voluntarily, it could mean a big fine.
A new report shows that in 2009, the state fined more than 100 acute care hospitals a total of more than $1 million for failing to promptly report adverse events.
Adverse events that state law requires be reported to public health officials include wrong surgery, blood or transplant organ incompatibility, transmission of an infectious agent to a patient, administration of an incorrect medication or dosage, in-hospital falls or burns, pressure ulcers, catheter-acquired infections, and surgical site infections.
According to the report in today’s Healthleaders, information that hospitals have not promptly or properly reported an adverse event as required by law often comes from hospital officials themselves. In other cases, the state hears about such cases in the form of a complaint from a patient, a family member, nurse or doctor or other hospital staff member.
So far, California is the only state fining hospitals for failure to report these events.