LA MESA, Calif (KGTV) - According to the California Department of Public Health, seven deficiencies were issued after an investigation of Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
In April state investigators conducted a survey consisting of 14 closed medical records.
According to the investigator's findings documented in a statement of deficiencies and plan of correction report, "Hospital leadership did not provide notification of a potential investigation and the use of video recording during medical treatment without patient's consent."
Investigators also noted deficiencies with regulations related to medical staff accountability, patient's rights, and use of restraint or seclusion.
According to the state document, "The patient has the right to personal privacy. This Statute is not met as evidenced by: Based on interview and record review, the hospital failed to ensure the privacy of all patients undergoing medical treatment in the WHC (women's health center) ORs (operating rooms) when the hospital's Admission Agreement for Inpatient and Outpatient Services was utilized as consent to allow video recording during medical treatment. Also, the Admission Agreement did not allow the patients' the option to acknowledge and/or decline video recording. As a result, the hospital leadership allowed video recording of patients undergoing medical treatment without knowledge or consent."
The deficiencies listed fall under violations to conditions of participation for a hospital as listed in title 42 of the federal code of regulations. A deficiency is a violation of a federal or state law or regulation that the California Department of Public Health cites during a survey or investigation.
Officials with the California Department of Public Health tell 10News issuing deficiencies is a form of enforcement action. It requires the facility to submit a Plans of Correction to fix any violations.
According to Sharp officials, in 2012 they were alerted that beginning in 2011, potentially powerful drugs and equipment were missing from the anesthesia cart in each of Sharp Grossmont Hospital's three Women's Center operating rooms.
The hospital installed a computer monitor with a motion-activated camera in each of the three Women's Center operating rooms.
Between July 2012 and June 2013, the videos were recorded. The hospital says the cameras were intended to record only individuals in front of the anesthesia carts.
In a statement to 10News, a spokesperson for Sharp wrote:
"In their survey, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) identified areas where opportunities for improvement existed. The hospital addressed each area of concern and created a plan of correction for those findings. Both CDPH and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) accepted Sharp Grossmont’s plan of correction, as confirmed in a follow-up survey. The hospital’s plan of correction provides that:
- The specific techniques used in the 2012-13 investigation have not been used since and will not be used for any future investigations.
- Any potential future investigations are required to strictly adhere to Sharp’s policies and procedures;
- Medical staff will be kept informed of any similar future investigations that may occur;
- Patients will receive full disclosure of any future investigations that may affect their privacy;
- The patient grievance practices have been strengthened to ensure patient complaints and grievances are appropriately and efficiently managed; and
- Additional measures are in place to safeguard against the inadvertent release of patient information to third parties.
Staff and clinicians have been educated on the hospital’s plan of correction and policies. While we are pleased that CDPH and CMS accepted our plan of correction, we regret that the investigation inadvertently recorded patients and may have caused distress to those we serve."
More than 400 women who claim they were secretly recorded are suing the hospital.
Court records show a hearing is scheduled in September.