Medicare may stop paying for hospital errors

Medicare has set plans to stop paying for 13 common conditions typically created by hospital errors, putting out a proposal that could be implemented late next year. Conditions cited include catheter-related urinary tract infections, bed sores, MRSA infections, wrong-site surgery and surgical site infections. Not only would such a policy have a potentially significant effect on hospitals, it could provoke the institution of similar policies by commercial health plans, which often follow CMS's lead. Any insurer would be happy to rid itself of the burden for these errors, which can be extremely costly to treat. Treating a pressure ulcer, for example, may cost as much as $40,000 a patient--and a substantial 322,946 Medicare patients had a pressure ulcer as a secondary diagnosis in 2006. The American Hospital Association has said that the measure is unlikely to improve quality, as hospitals are already deeply engaged in safety improvement efforts.

To learn more about Medicare's plans:
- read this article from The Indianapolis Star

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