The Michigan Health & Hospital Association formalized a policy to stop billing patients for certain serious preventable errors or never events and hospital-acquired conditions, joining the growing list of hospital associations, states and payers who have adopted similar plans.
The new policy is part of a patient-safety initiative that also includes a patient-safety organization through which the hospital association will collect data and analyze medical errors to develop best practices for its members.
The association, which said in January it was considering a nonbilling policy, said its member hospitals will not bill patients for 11 conditions, including three hospital-acquired infections and eight never events as defined by the National Quality Forum. The eight events are: wrong-site, wrong-patient and wrong-procedure surgeries; object retained after surgery; air embolism; blood incompatibility; stage 3 or 4 pressure ulcers; and injuries from falls or burns. The nonbilling policy also covers three conditions: catheter-associated urinary tract infections, vascular catheter-associated infections and surgical-site infections related to heart bypass procedures.
Preventing errors in the first place is the goal for the new patient-safety organization, the association said in a news release. Through the data collected by the organization, hospitals will learn why some errors occur and will be able to cultivate best practices that improve outcomes, the association said. (For more on this topic, please see the article "N.Y. Medicaid ups the ante.")-- by Jean DerGurahian