Medicaid Will No Longer Pay For Treatment Of Preventable Pennsylvania Hospital Errors

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ThePennsylvania Department of Public Welfare last week launched a program toidentify and stop Medicaid payments for care related to preventable hospitalerrors, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The state also willprohibit hospitals from charging patients for such errors. Under the policy,which Gov. Ed Rendell (D) announced on Tuesday, the department will examinehospital bills for 27 so-called "never events," such as operating onthe wrong patient, medication errors that result in death or disability, andbad blood transfusions. The department will assess each case to see if theevent was preventable and resulted in significant harm to the beneficiary.

The initiative will apply to care given at acute care hospitals since Jan. 14(Goldstein, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/23). The policy does notapply to managed care organizations that enroll Medicaid beneficiaries.However, Stacey Witalec, a spokesperson for the department, said that the stateexpects those companies to adopt similar policies. Officials did not provide anestimate of how much money the program would save the state's Medicaid program.

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The Rendell administration worked with the Hospital and Healthsystem Association ofPennsylvania todevelop the initiative, which is similar to a Medicare program that will beginin October (Raffaele, AP/Contra Costa Times, 1/22). The Pennsylvania program is part of a broaderhealth care plan announced by Rendell in January 2007 that seeks to improve thequality of care, reduce errors, eliminate hospital-acquired infections andincrease access to affordable health care for all state residents.

In related news, Rendell on Tuesday said that 29,000 people on a waiting listfor the state's low-cost health insurance program, adultBasic, would receive coverage (PhiladelphiaInquirer, 1/23).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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