Patients in Washington state wont have to pay for care related to serious medical errors, the governor announced in a deal struck with major hospital and healthcare associations.
The agreement applies to 28 of the most egregious adverse events such as operating on the wrong part of the body, or the serious injury or death of a patient from a fall. Out of a total of 600,000 hospital admissions in the state from June 2006 to July 2007, only about 180 such adverse events were reported to the state. The CMS and most major insurers have announced they will no longer pay for many of these so-called never events.
The Washington State Hospital Association, Washington State Medical Association and Washington Ambulatory Surgery Center Association signed onto the agreement, brokered by Gov. Christine Gregoire.
Washington is the fourth stateafter Minnesota, Massachusetts and Vermontto reach such an agreement with hospitals. Pennsylvania recently announced its Department of Public Welfare will withhold payments for preventable, serious adverse events. -- by Rebecca Vesely
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