Monday, August 27, 2007

Medicare will stop paying for complications resulting from "medical errors"

Some interesting perspectives from the Healthcare IT Guy and Mark Frisse.
Mickey Tripathi has an excellent analysis as well.

The Healthcare IT Guy quotes from the New York Times:

In a significant policy change, Bush administration
officials say that
Medicare will no longer pay the extra costs of treating preventable
errors, injuries and infections that occur in hospitals, a move they say could
save lives and millions of dollars.

This policy is to go in effect after October 2008. What type of conditions might be considered to be complications from "medical errors"?

Such conditions include:

  • Catheter infections
  • Pressure Ulcers
  • Falls

Knowing from working in both nursing home and hospital settings, there is often a blame game when it comes to pressure sores. When patients present to the hospital from a nursing home with a wound, hospital staff typically blames the nursing home's care. The same situation happens in reverse when a patients present to a nursing home from a hospitals.

Who is at blame for the pressure wound? Now that there could be financial consequences to this condition, hospitals will need to document carefully the presence of any wounds on admission and discharge. I do not know how nursing homes will be effected by this new payment policy, but it will be in their interest to document the presence of wounds on admission and discharge as well. Wounds are a significant area of liability and the oversight will only become more stringent with this new policy in place.

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