MA Blue plan, state ban payment for medical errors

In another major blow for this approach, the state of Massachusetts' Medicaid program and the largest health insurer there each announced that they won't pay for a list of "never events." This week, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the state's MassHealth both said that they won't pay for 28 types of surgical, medication and other errors compiled by the National Quality Forum. Collectively, the two insurers cover about 4 million people in the state, making their decision influential not only in the state, but nationally as well. This follows a round of voluntary commitments by hospital administrators in Massachusetts who have begun vowing not to charge any insurer for medical errors, and instead promise to absorb the costs on their own.

While it's not clear how this policy will affect the Medicaid program, the state, whose public health department recently began requiring that hospitals and doctors report such mistakes, had previously found that 70 such errors were reported during the five five months of the year. More in question is how MassHealth will implement and enforce its policy. Processing 6 million claims a month, it's not clear yet how MassHealth will scan claims to make sure that it's not paying for treatment related to medical mistakes.

To learn more about the insurers' decision:
- read this article from The Boston Globe

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