Medicaid Says "No" to Medical Never Events

Medical errors account for 44,000 to 98,000 deaths in American hospitals each year. Although the numbers are disturbingly high, only five percent of physicians in a study by the Kaiser Foundation listed medical errors as a priority healthcare concern. A new Medicaid rule hopes to draw physicians' attention to this unfortunate statistic though financial disincentives.

As of July 1, 2012, Medicaid will no longer pay for hospital medical errors it calls "never events." A "never event" is a medical error that should never occur. Such events include surgery on the wrong body part or patient, using an incorrect blood type during a blood transfusion, urinary tract and other infections caused by the application of a catheter, and deep vein thrombosis.

Twenty-one states already have such a measure in place. Since Medicaid is both a federal and state-run program, the federal government can mandate that states pass certain rules regarding Medicaid payouts. The state of Connecticut has developed a program that it will implement on the first of July of next year, in compliance with the federal rule.

The law has the potential to reduce "never events" by denying payment, thus making healthcare professionals to take more care when administering to patients. Medicaid hopes that this will cause a decrease of medical errors over time, saving the government money.

A similar program is already in place for Medicare, and has saved that program $20 million since it was implemented in 2008. The new Medicaid rule is projected to save $35 million over five years.

If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact an experienced attorney in your area to understand how best to proceed. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.