May 24, 2007 | Mark Paradies

US Government May Stop Paying Hospitals Extra for Common Medical Errors

It’s an interesting concept … The hospital makes an error – like a caretaker contaminating a needle and causing a bloodstream infection – and the government pays the hospital more to cure the disease they created.

This process seems to reward the hospital with additional payments for making errors. It certainly doesn’t reward a hospital that spends more to stop medical errors.

An article in the May 22 edition of the Indy Star indicates that Medicare is rethinking this payment policy and may stop paying for the following conditions acquired after admissions:

1. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections.
2. Bed sores.
3. Objects left in after surgery.
4. Air embolism, or bubbles, in the bloodstream from the injection.
5. Patients are given incompatible blood types.
6. Bloodstream staph infection.
7. Ventilator-associated pneumonia.
8. Vascular-catheter-associated infection.
9. Clostridium difficile-associated disease (gastrointestinal infections).
10. Drug-resistant staph infection.
11. Surgical site infections.
12. Wrong surgery.
13. Falls.

With Medicare being such a large payer of claims, this would certainly give hospitals a much bigger reason to improve – their profitability!

And as a taxpayer, I can’t see why they have waited this long.

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