Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No Payment for Medical Errors: Massachusetts takes the Pledge

Massachusetts along with Minnesota will no longer be charging patients and payers for "medical errors" as described in this article. This is a new policy announced by Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA). I had a post on Medicare's no payment policy for medical errors here. The policy is to go in effect October 2008.

The types of medical errors that will not be reimbursed are:

Surgery on wrong body part
•Surgery on wrong patient
•Wrong surgical procedure
•Unintended retention of a foreign object
•Patient death or serious disability associated with air embolism that occurs while being treated in a health care facility
•Patient death or serious disability associated with a medication error
•Patient death or serious disability associated with a hemolytic reaction due to administration of incompatible blood or blood products
•Artificial insemination with the wrong donor sperm or wrong egg
•Infant discharged to the wrong family.

This list will be expanded according to the article as more experience is gained in implementing this policy. I did not see much Grey in the list, its fairly black and white. These are all events which are definite errors. Where there may problems, would be in the case of wounds and infections. In these cases, its hard to know if an error actually led to the adverse event. This is the "Grey" area where the implementation of this policy could be problematic.

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