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Medicare will pay no more for errors committed by hospitals and doctors

Medical errors and infections acquired from hospitals which are preventable will not be paid for by Medicare from today. While the doctors will be paid for the treatment given, hospitals will not be compensated for the payments withheld by the government. Hospitals too cannot bill patients who are with Medicare.

Mistakes committed by doctors or hospitals like surgeries conducted on the wrong person or wrong body parts, referred to as “never events” by the government will not be paid for by the government health plan. The government health plan covers the disabled and elderly.

By doing this hospitals are encouraged to take steps towards regulating the system thereby preventing or at least reducing on the errors committed. This decision is also aimed at motivating hospitals to maintain cleanliness and avoiding infecting patients with conditions like fractures, bedsores and infections.

Private insurance companies too are thinking of a similar decision. According to some of them, they will not make payments for mistakes committed by hospitals. Similar policies are being contemplated on by many states including Oregon regarding Medicaid patients.

Medicare’s list of infections acquired in hospitals which are preventable include surgical site infections, urinary tract infection related to usage of catheter, advanced bedsore conditions, etc.

Errors by hospitals and doctors which will not be compensated for by Medicare include leaving objects like sponge, etc in the patient during surgery, giving patients wrong blood type, etc.

This decision was intimated to US hospitals a year back and will save Medicare an estimated $20 million a year.

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