California penalty program isn't curbing medical errors: 5 things to know

Practice Management

Since 2007, California physicians have paid $17 million in fines for preventable medical errors, but these fines aren't curbing the number of medical errors, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Here are five things to know:


1. Since 2007, California has cited 192 hospitals for a variety of preventable medical errors.


2. Although the state improved its medical error rate between 2014 and 2015, the number still came in higher than when the program began in 2007, based on state data.


3. California is the only state that publicizes these "immediate jeopardy incidents," slamming penalties for certain errors that result in "serious injury or death of a patient," according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.


4. Those opposed to the penalty program propose instead of racking up revenue, the state should require hospitals use that money to hire safety and quality staff members.


5. Although the medical error rate hasn't dropped, some argue the penalty program encourages hospitals to pay more attention to preventing and reporting mistakes.


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