Payment for errors going away

This has been a watershed year where reimbursement for medical errors is concerned. In just months, many providers went from expecting payment for services whether they'd caused a problem or not, to admitting that they probably shouldn't bill for treatment needed due to preventable errors. For some industries, eating the cost of mistakes is normal, but it's a big cultural shift for providers. In fact, it's a serious shock.

This trend was kicked off big this year by a couple of large industry stakeholders. Most notably, the 1,000 pound gorilla of the healthcare business, CMS, announced that it wouldn't pay for some medical conditions considered to be caused by preventable care errors. Also, the Leapfrog Group, which represents giants employers like Boeing and General Electric, has begun asking hospitals to eat their bill and issue an apology whenever 28 adverse events take place. Now, the BCBS plans have begun hinting that Real Soon Now, they won't pay for never events or errors either.

From the looks of things, it's high time to develop a 'no charge for errors' policy of their own and get used to the financial consequences. Otherwise, expect to get blindsided next year.

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