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Improper Discharge Planning

A patient was discharged from Lompoc hospital but the staff failed to inform the patient or his family that he was experiencing kidney failure, a life-threatening condition. This report points to improper discharge planning.improper discharge planning

Post submitted on June 13, 2017

“Last summer my father was in the Lompoc Valley Medical Center for a few days. They discharged him without explaining he had kidney failure. He was just told him to follow-up with his primary doctor.

Patient Taken To Cottage

Within two days he was in worse shape and I immediately took him to Cottage in Santa Barbara. They didn’t want any notes from Lompoc hospital as they stated they had problems with their tests and paperwork.

Cottage gave him a few weeks to live. I feel that Lompoc could have prevented his condition from getting worse. They absolutely should have explained that he had kidney failure before they discharged him.”


When a hospital fails to provide proper discharge instructions the results are often quite serious. For example, one study found that 20% of Medicare patients had adverse outcomes within 3 weeks of discharge. Nearly 75% of those adverse outcomes could have been prevented or made less severe with proper discharge instructions.

Improper Discharge Planning

Providing proper discharge planning for the patient is a priority in the U.S. health care system. Under federal law (42 Code of Federal Regulations 482.32) all hospitals participating in the Medicare and Medicaid program are required to provide proper discharge planning for the patient as well as the person acting on the patient’s behalf. The hospital staff is required to discuss the discharge evaluation with the patient or individual acting on his or her behalf.

Financial Penalties for Above-Average Readmission

Since improper discharge has serious consequence the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 introduced financial penalties for hospitals with above-average readmission rates. Problems after discharge often result from an inadequate transition from the hospital to follow-up care.

Filing a Complaint Can Lead To Improved Discharge Planning

The California Department of Public Health, Licensing, and Certification investigates cases of improper discharge planning.

To improve the quality of care at Lompoc hospital consumers can file a complaint with the California Department of Public Health, Licensing and Certification, (805) 604-2926, 1889 N Rice Ave # 200, Oxnard, CA 93030. (These complaints are handled anonymously at no cost.)