Sunday, January 20, 2008

Medical Accountability

Health care insurers are beginning to adopt the same policy as Medicare in refusing to pay for medical errors. The 28 most common "never events" include mistakes like leaving an object inside a patient during surgery, giving the wrong kind of blood, even bedsores. Best of all, many insurers are also making sure that hospitals don't bill patients for these errors when the insurance company doesn't pay.

Compiled by the National Quality Forum coalition these are mistakes that simply can't be justified in any way. The goal isn't to save money because these events are so rare, the policy is intened to focus hospital attention on safety, but the CDC estimates such errors add $4.5 billion to the nation's health care tab each year.

Does your health insurance have such a policy? It may be worth checking out since their contracts with hospitals may be the incentive to make changes to improve safety and care ... and that could literally save your life.

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