Joining a growing list of states taking such a stand, hospitals in Washington state have agreed not to charge for care related to a list of serious medical errors. The Washington State Hospital Association, Washington State Medical Association and Washington Ambulatory Surgery Center Association all agreed not to charge for any of 28 'never events,' including wrong-site surgery, serious med errors or serious injury or death of a patient from taking a fall.
It's not as though this will have a huge adverse impact on the facilities' bottom line--only 180 such events were reported out of 600,000 admissions in the state between June 2006 and July 2007--but it is a sign that Medicare's refusal to pay for such errors continues to reverberate outward. In rejecting payment for never-event-related care, Washington hospitals follow Minnesota, Massachusetts and Vermont. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare recently announced that it won't pay for "preventable, serious adverse events" through government health programs.
To learn more about this trend:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)
By 2008, Medicare won't pay for hospital errors. Report
MA hospitals forswear payment for preventable errors. Report
Aetna, WellPoint refuse payment for serious errors. Report
CO hospitals consider waiving payment for adverse events. Report
Businesses say: "no pay" for major mistakes. Report