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Medical News & Perspectives |

Public, Private Insurers Refusing to Pay Hospitals for Costs of Avoidable Errors

Mike Mitka
JAMA. 2008;299(21):2495-2496. doi:10.1001/jama.299.21.2495.
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The US government and private insurers are becoming more resistant to paying for “never events”—avoidable accidents, errors, and conditions, including health care–associated infections.

On April 14, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule expanding the number of conditions acquired during a hospital stay for which it would not reimburse hospitals. Two days later, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report critical of the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in its efforts to reduce the number of health care–associated infections. Both actions came while private insurers were announcing lists of never events for which they will not reimburse hospitals.

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Hand washing is vital in reducing hospital-acquired infections—a condition for which some health insurers say they will not pay.

(Photo credit: iStockphoto.com)

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