Medicare plans to stop payments for many hospital errors

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Medicare has plans to halt payments for errors made by hospitals. The changes, which would impact costs associated with very common medical errors that are considered preventable, would go into effect late next year, The Indianapolis Star reports.

The proposal could have broad impact due to the scope of Medicare payments which place it as the top payer of medical costs in the United States, and it has the potential to hurt hospitals bottom lines. In instances where there are costs from complications that were not present when a patient is admitted the facilities would no longer receive payment.

The rule would likely target 13 conditions, including: catheter-associated urinary tract infections; bed sores; objects left in after surgery; air embolism in bloodstream from injection; mix-up in blood compatibility; blood staph infection; ventilator-related pneumonia; vascular-catheter-associated infection; gastrointestinal infections; drug-resistant staph infection; surgical site infections; wrong surgery; and falls.

Medicare will accept public comment on the changes through Oct. 2008.