Immediate jeopardy mistakes costly

Thirteen California hospitals have been fined a total of $650,00 for 16 immediate jeopardy mistakes.  According to California law, immediate jeopardy “is a situation in which the hospital’s noncompliance with one or more requirements of licensure has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury or death to a patient.” 

The California Department of Public Health received the authority to issue immediate jeopardy fines in 2007, a result of a bill signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Fines are $25,000 for 2007 and 2008 mistakes and $50,000 to $100,000 for 2009 incidences; first violations are assessed at the lesser rate.  All monies collected are earmarked for programs aimed at decreasing serious medical errors. 

The latest round of fines include four penalties, totaling $100,000, for John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio.  The penalties are the result of using nurses who weren’t trained or certified to perform emergency room tasks in the ER. 


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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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