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Health

7 San Diego Hospitals Penalized For Medical Mistakes

Nurses and doctors at work in a hospital's intensive care unit.
Christopher Maue
Nurses and doctors at work in a hospital's intensive care unit.

The federal government is penalizing seven hospitals in San Diego County for mistakes that could have harmed patients.

The seven hospitals are — Palomar Health in Escondido, Scripps Green Hospital, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, Scripps Mercy Hospital, Sharp Memorial Hospital, Sharp Coronado, and UCSD Medical Center— are among 721 hospitals across the U.S. that were penalized. The move is part of a new nationwide crackdown on medical errors.

The hospitals will have their Medicare payments cut by 1 percent through next September. The penalties, which are expected to total $373 million nationwide, are the harshest fines the government has imposed in an effort to improve patient safety.

The penalties are for high rates of so-called "hospital-acquired" conditions. These include bedsores, blood clots and other problems that are considered avoidable.

Despite these penalties, the hospital industry has made progress in reducing avoidable mistakes. A federal report states the number of medical errors fell by 17 percent between 2010 and 2013.

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