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Washington To Stop Charges For Preventable Medical Errors

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Washington statehealth care providers no longer will charge for preventable hospitalerrors under a resolution announced on Tuesday by Gov. ChristineGregoire (D) and officials of several state health care associations,the SeattleTimes reports. Theresolution -- by the WashingtonState Medical Association,the WashingtonState Hospital Associationand the WashingtonAmbulatory Surgery Center Association-- will apply to 28 "never events," such as surgicalprocedures on the wrong patient or wrong part of the body, leavingmedical instruments inside a body following surgery, illnesses ordisabilities resulting from tainted medications or instruments, andother avoidable errors. The resolution is voluntary, but leaders ofthe associations say they expect hospitals, physicians and surgerycenters around the state to comply.

The resolution is similarto agreements adopted in several other states, as well as to a ruleintroduced last year by CMSto ban Medicare payments for eight preventable conditions that can beacquired in hospitals. In addition, Aetnaand BlueCross Blue Shield Associationthis month announced an agreement to stop payments to hospitals fortreatment that results from serious medical errors (Ostrom, SeattleTimes, 1/29).

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