Hospitals in nearly half of states won't bill for never events

A new analysis suggests that hospitals in almost half of U.S. states will no longer bill patients for serious medical errors, up sharply from the beginning of 2008. In February, an analysis by a news organization concluded that hospital associations in 11 states had asked members to waive payment for never events. Now, the number states with such policies in place is 23, according to research by MSNBC.com.

This trend, of course, has gained a great deal of momentum as hospitals and their trade groups have braced themselves for Medicare, and commercial health plans, to roll out no-pay rule for serious errors. Medicare will cease such payments as of October 1, while various commercial plans like Cigna, Aetna and a number of Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates have set their own policies and schedules.

The next wave may come from Medicaid agencies, which CMS has urged to enact their own non-payment policies. To date, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania have done so, but no one knows yet how many more will follow.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this MSNBC.com article

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