AHA comments on national coverage analysis for surgical errors

The American Hospital Association (AHA) yesterday commented on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) national coverage analyses of errors involving wrong site, wrong patient, or wrong body part surgery. The AHA urged CMS to consider several questions as it deliberates when to withhold payment for certain serious surgical errors. The error or event must be preventable, within control of the hospital, be a result of a mistake made by the hospital, result in significant harm, and be clearly and precisely defined in advance.

In the letter , AHA further notes that, b ecause of the many nuances surrounding the issue, CMS should include an appeals process for hospitals to petition any decisions that they believe were made inappropriately. AHA recently adopted a set of principles articulating when hospitals would not expect payment from patients or their insurers or employers for care related to preventable serious, adverse events. (SOURCE: AHA News Now , http://www.ahanews.com, August 29, 2008)