Hospitals face action for padding medical staff

OSAKA — The Osaka Prefectural Government will file a criminal complaint against three Yasuda Hospital group hospitals here that allegedly padded reports on the number of its doctors and nurses, it was learned here May 19.

The prefectural government has confirmed through an investigation that the three hospitals were operating without the required number of medical staffers. Yasuda Hospital in Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka Ensei Hospital in Higashi Sumiyoshi Ward, and Yamatogawa Hospital, a mental institute in Kashihawa, Osaka Prefecture, reported that a total of 78 doctors and 345 nurses were employed, according to the prefecture.

But the actual numbers are 11 doctors and 157 nurses short of what is required by law, it said. “It is certain that these hospitals were regularly short by at least four or five nurses,” Itsuo Inoue, a prefectural official, said after determining the local government could not interview 120 of the 423 employees at the three hospitals.

The prefectural government will decide whether to order the three institutions to cease operations after inspecting the hospitals starting next week. “The most important thing that we should do now is transfer patients at these hospitals to other institutions so they can continue receiving necessary medical treatment,” Inoue said. About 969 patients were hospitalized in the three facilities as of last March.

Since December, the prefectural and municipal governments, as well as the Osaka Labor Standards Inspection Bureau, have been inspecting the hospital for alleged padding of employee numbers, failure to pay fair wages and other labor malpractice in violation of the Labor Standards Law. Sisters of a female patient who died under suspicious circumstances at Osaka Ensei Hospital filed a lawsuit with the Osaka District Court here last week against its medical corporation, Kita Nishiki-kai, which is affiliated with the Yasuda group, seeking 11 million yen in damages.