Cottage Hospital Penalized After Patient Commits Suicide
Last week the California Department of Health released a report stating ten penalties were issued to nine California hospitals, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital was one of them.
The total fines for all nine hospitals were $549,555 after investigations found the facilities' noncompliance with licensing requirements caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients.
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital was fined $100,000 for "failure to ensure the health and safety of a patient" who died during a suicide attempt that involved a fall in 2015 under the hospital's care. This is the hospital’s third Immediate Jeopardy administrative penalty.
The detailed report of the investigation said the 93-year-old patient was documented as "high risk" for suicidal attempts, but the staff failed to "provide a safe environment and proper care to prevent [the patient] from carrying out his suicide plan."
According to the report, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital has since provided measures to prevent any similar incidents from taking place which include: providing tamper-resistant and non-ligature fixtures, doors that permit staff to watch the patient without being too intrusive, walls, ceiling and floor of patient rooms designed to withstand direct and forceful impact, including updated staff protocols and training.
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital provided a short statement to KEYT News stating, "Patient privacy standards prevent us from responding publicly to the specific information in this release."
When hospitals receive the survey findings from the Department of Health, they are required to provide a plan of correction to prevent future incidents. Hospitals can also appeal an administrative penalty by requesting a hearing. All hospitals in California are required to be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing general acute care hospitals, acute psychiatric hospitals, and special hospitals.