In a new initiative to improve health care, Medicare will no longer pay hospital costs of treating illness, injuries or infections resulting from medical mistakes or negligence. By not paying the extra costs of treating preventable injuries or illness in hospitals, the lives of many patients and millions of dollars can be saved. Currently, Medicare pays for treatments resulting from medical malpractice and negligence. Private insurers are considering following Medicare’s lead, which could greatly increase benefits and savings for patients and make insurance less expensive and more accessible.
Preventable conditions that will no longer be covered include bedsores, or pressure ulcers, injuries or death caused by falls and unnecessarily contracted infections. This will force doctors and hospitals to take more care in following policies and procedures to prevent these types of avoidable errors. Hospital advocates have tried to fight back, making claims that some injuries, such as pressure sores, are unavoidable. However, Levin & Perconti recently settled a case for $1 million in which a nursing home claimed that pressure sores were unavoidable. This theory proved false when the paraplegic patient was treated somewhere else and the pressure ulcers healed. This initiative is a federal recognition that many illnesses and injuries are caused by hospitals and doctors not following policies and procedures or meeting the standard of care. Because pressure ulcers are not covered by Medicare, for instance, the federal government is acknowledging that they are, in fact, avoidable and a result of negligence.
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