Editorials Examine Decision To End Medicare Payments For Preventable Hospital Errors

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Preventable Hospital Errors

Summaries of editorials addressing CMS' recent decision to end Medicare reimbursements for eight specific preventable errors in hospitals appear below.

  • Eugene Register-Guard: CMS' decision to eliminate payments for preventable errors is "practical" and "sensible," the Register-Guardwrites in an editorial. The editorial concludes, "The bottom line isthe bottom line: Medicare spent more than $185 billion on hospital carein 2006. For that kind of money, taxpayers have a right to expect thateverything possible is being done to eliminate preventable errors"(Eugene Register-Guard, 9/4).
  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram:"Medical errors are rarely the result of one person's mistake," butrather they "usually reflect the failure of underlying processes orprotocols in patient diagnosis and treatment," a Star-Telegram editorial states, adding, "Preventing errors requires facility-wide solutions." The Star-Telegramconcludes, "Although Medicare's new policy is a financial decision,ultimately it should significantly improve U.S. hospital patient care" (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 9/7).
  • Long Island Newsday: "Medicare's sanctions should be limited to clear snafus," a Newsdayeditorial states, adding, "And to the stick of withheld payments,Washington should consider adding a carrot: a bonus of some sort forhospitals that significantly reduce their rate of never events." Theeditorial concludes, "Blunders shouldn't be rewarded. Flipping thescript to pay hospitals and doctors less, rather than more, when theymake preventable errors should lead to fewer errors. That'sunambiguously good for patients" (Long Island Newsday, 9/7).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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