State levies fines against five Los Angeles and OC hospitals

Five hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties, including USC University Hospital, have been fined $200,000 for endangering patients and failing to follow proper procedures, state health officials announced Friday.

In total, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued 14 administrative penalties to 12 California hospitals after determining that the facilities’ noncompliance with licensing requirements has caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients, according to a news release.

The USC hospital was fined $50,000 for not adequately providing for the health and safety of a patient and not following its procedures for the safe distribution and administration of medication, said Al Lundeen of the CDPH. This is the first administrative penalty issued to this hospital.

The largest of the fines, $75,000, was assessed against Western Medical Center in Santa Ana for improper maintenance of refrigeration equipment used to store medications. This is Western Medical’s third administrative penalty, Lundeen said.

The other Southland hospitals fined are:

• Placentia Linda Hospital in Placentia, $25,000, for not following
surgical procedures,

• Citrus Valley Medical in Covina, $25,000, for not following surgical

• Kindred Hospital in Westminster, $25,000, for not following patient
care procedures.

Other administrative penalties included a $25,000 fine for Rancho Medical Center in Riverside County, and $100,000 against two hospitals in San Diego County.

Hospital officials can appeal their penalties within 10 calendar days, Lundeen said.