Why are Bed Sores Part of the Government’s “Never Even” List?

By Nursing Home Law Center


Effective October 1, 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid will no longer reimburse hospitals for errors deemed to be ‘preventable’ by the agency. The list of preventable medical errors, technically called ‘never events’, includes bed sores. Hospitals are also banned from charging patients directly for care related to medical errors that are part of the never event list.

In addition to bed sores, Medicare no longer will reimburse hospitals for treatment related to the following preventable medical conditions / errors including: falls, mediastinitis– an infection that can develop after heart surgery, urinary tract infections that result from improper use of catheters, vascular infections that result from improper use of catheters, objects left in the body during surgery, air embolisms and blood incompatibility involved with transfusions.

The implementation of never events is intended to provide a financial prodding to hospitals to improve their standard of care. The never event program is not expected to result in major reductions in expenses. Implementation of the never events program will save an estimated $21 million of the program’s $110 billion in annual payments for medical beneficiaries.

At this point, the never events apply only to hospitals. Officials with CMS are set to re-evaluate the current ‘never event’ policy and may include care rendered in a nursing home setting.

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