Hospitals Fined for Failing to Report Events the State Says Should Never Happen

One state enacted a law in 2007 requiring hospitals to immediately report occurrences of what they call "never events."  Such events include severe bedsores, operating on the wrong body part, and leaving objects inside a patient after surgery, and the state says they should never happen in their hospitals. These events are to be reported to the Department of Public Health. Hospitals that don't report are fined $100 per day for each day an event goes unreported.

Since July 2007, hospital inspections conducted by state evaluators confirmed that at least 28 never events, many of which were severe bedsores, had occurred at ten different hospitals surveyed. Inspectors investigate never events after hospitals report them, during scheduled evaluations, or because of patient complaints.

Hospitals and facilities in the state have been fined a total of nearly $1 million for not reporting or delays in reporting never events that occurred during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 fiscal years.  Almost all of the fines have been the result of unreported severe bedsores. All of the hospitals remain open. None of them have been fined for repeated problems. For more, read the full story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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