California’s Medical Error Penalty Program: What It Is and What It Means for Patients

BIKLaw Medical Malpractice Lawyer > Medical Malpractice > California’s Medical Error Penalty Program: What It Is and What It Means for Patients

California is the only state in the U.S. with a penalty system for serious preventable medical mistakes. News releases regarding California’s medical error penalty program might give consumers the impression that it’s doing a good job in driving down the rate of such errors. However, despite the more than $17,000,000 in fines that the state has issued to medical providers in the last decade, it turns out the program has made virtually no difference in the rate at which such errors occur. In fact, the rate of these errors in 2016 was higher than when the program began back in 2007.

Working off a specific list of errors that cause “serious injury or death of a patient,” the unique California program issues both monetary penalties and publicly shames those hospitals where the errors occur. The California Department of Public Health calls these errors “immediate jeopardy incidents.” Only the most serious medical blunders are included. But as any Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyer can tell you, the rate of actionable medical malpractice cases is much, much higher than those considered worthy of this program’s penalties.

The goal of the program is, of course, to incentivize medical providers such as physicians and hospitals to be vigilant in preventing and accurately reporting medical errors. Some penalty areas, such as bedsores, have improved in recent years. However, many serious categories of errors, including leaving foreign objects inside patients during surgeries, are actually increasing as the years go by. This is bad news for patients.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, nothing substitutes for experienced advice and counsel. At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., Dr. Kramer is both a trained medical doctor and a licensed California attorney. He and his team can put their experience to work on your behalf to get the best compensation possible when a medical provider’s error has compromised your health and livelihood. Call us at (310) 289-2600 or visit us online to have your case reviewed today.

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