The California Department of Health announced earlier this month that it had issued fines to 12 hospitals throughout the state for noncompliance with various state and federal regulations.
All but two of the fines amounted to $50,000 each, the amount usually due for a first offense. Two of the hospitals in Santa Cruz and Turlock, respectively, faced penalties of $75,000 for a second and third offense.
The Daily Sundial reports that hospitals in California and across the U.S. undergo thorough inspections every 18 months. These regulatory compliance audits are usually undertaken by independent companies that report back to the various state departments of health.
Most of the penalties involved the failure to correctly follow written procedures for surgery, monitoring or other facets of patient care, but four of the hospitals were fined for failing to implement such written policies.
“From a consumer standpoint, the penalties and assessments don’t matter much,” Dr. Brian Malec, a health administration professor at California State University – Northridge, told the Daily Sundial. “Very few patients research their hospital.”
Nonetheless, Malec suggested the fines could impact the hospitals’ reputations, an important factor for attracting employees and partnerships.