Medicare Will Not Pay for Hospital Errors -- How Do You Define a Hospital Error?

According to KidneyNotes:

"Look for the definition of an "error" to be expanded dramatically... Central line infection? C. difficile colitis? Ventilator associated pneumonia?"

The initial six conditions on the Medicare list are:
  1. pressure ulcers
  2. catheter-associated urinary tract infections
  3. Staphylococcus aureus (shown above) septicemia
  4. air embolism
  5. blood incompatibility
  6. object left behind in surgical patient
Number 2 and 3 are hospital-acquired infections and numbers 4-6 were to be called "never events." Besides those on the list for 2008, seven more conditions are under consideration for 2009, according to AMNews.

Further reading:
Medicare Says It Won’t Cover ‘Preventable’ Hospital Errors. NYTimes, 08/2007.
Medicare plans to stop paying for 6 hospital-acquired conditions. AMNews staff, June 18, 2007.
Medicare No Longer Willing to Pay Hospitals for Preventable Medical Errors. MSSPNexus Blog, 08/2007.
Medicare won’t pay for mistakes? Notes from Dr. RW, 08/2007.
An Inexact Science. Musings of a Dinosaur, 08/2008.
Preventable medical errors, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Let Me Sprinkle Some Fairy Dust On My Patient. The Happy Hospitalist, 01/2008.
Image source: Wikipedia, CDC.

Updated: 01/15/2008


  1. What about unsuccessful Code Blues?
    Why pay for all that equipment if they don't make it?


  2. Good point...

  3. This is definetly a step in the right direction. I will be curious to see what else come to the list in 2009.