This was reported in the New York Times yesterday:
“WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 — In a significant policy change, Bush administration officials say that Medicare will no longer pay the extra costs of treating preventable errors, injuries and infections that occur in hospitals, a move they say could save lives and millions of dollars.
Private insurers are considering similar changes, which they said could multiply the savings and benefits for patients.”
Under the new rules, to be published next week, Medicare will not pay hospitals for the costs of treating certain “conditions that could reasonably have been prevented.”
“Among the conditions that will be affected are bedsores, injuries caused by falls, and infections resulting from the prolonged use of catheters in blood vessels or the bladder.”
The whole article can be read at http://www.nytimes.com/ if you have a subscription. Well, our friends across the United States are nervous as to what this means, and with good reason. Does it mean if Medicare won’t pay, the patient will be denied care? Will the hospital then have a lein on care provided because they, and not medicare paid for it? Will the hospitals take a reduced amount like Medicare does, or will our personal injury clients have to pay 100% back for care required as a result of someone else’s negligence? Will the fact that Medicare refuses, be a statement of negligence, admissible in court? So many questions, yet to be resolved. It certainly means a more complicated system, and much more work for our office – and sadly, it could mean much more!