Half of hospitals in Massachusetts no longer charge for errors

September 28, 2007

Massachusetts hospitals paying for errors

About half the hospitals in Massachusetts do not charge patients for treatment after serious medical errors, and many that still do are considering changing their policies, reports a hospital quality and patient safety advocate group. Thirty-three of 61 Bay State hospitals have voluntarily stopped charging for 28 serious and rare errors such as wrong-site surgery and medication mistakes, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Leapfrog Group. Other hospital errors in which patients are absolved of charges include leaving a foreign object inside a patient during a surgical procedure, discharging a baby to the wrong mother, and falls that result in death or serious disability. The Massachusetts policy is similar to an edict adopted in CMS rule set to go into effect next fall to withhold Medicare reimbursements to hospitals that treat patients for medical errors.

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