More states shred bills for awful medical errors

MSNBC.com reports that patients in 23 states will no longer pay for certain hospital errors. According to the article, h ospitals in nearly half the states in the nation now say they won’t bill patients for serious reportable events, or ‘never events’. This list has more than doubled since February, when an msnbc.com analysis showed that hospital associations in 11 states urged their members to waive payment for specific errors dubbed “never events” because they should never happen at all.

“It really does go to the heart of our patients’ confidence,” said Craig Becker, president of the Tennessee Hospital Association, which adopted a plan in June. “When you look at these adverse events, these are pretty gross errors.”

Tennessee is among 23 states that have approved non-payment policies for specific mistakes, with at least three more expected to do so by fall, a new review shows. Hospitals in another eight states have agreed to general guidelines that advise eliminating bills on a case-by-case basis for errors proven to be both serious and preventable. (SOURCE: Advisory Board Daily Briefing , www.advisory.com, October 23, 2004; and MSNBC.com, Aleccia, MSNBC.com , August 12, 2008)