Medicare cuts money for medical mistakes

If it shouldn't happen, the nation's largest insurer says it won't pay

Say you're getting eye surgery.

You may get the same question again, and again, and again.... "mr smith, it's your left eye we're operating on, right? "

So, confirm for me that it's surgery on your left eye?

And then again..... we're operating on your left eye??

That's because hospitals and doctors don't want to make a dramatic mistake, like operating on the wrong eye. That's called "a never event", because it's never supposed to happen.

Starting today, the nation's largest insurer, Medicare, says that's the kind of mistake it will refuse to pay for.

It also won't foot the bill for a list of conditions described as reasonably preventable: such as infections, serious bed sores, injuries from falls.

And not only will Medicare refuse payment, it's also barred hospitals from trying to get the patient to pay the bill.

Now, private insurers are taking Medicare's lead, including Aetna, Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

For Medicare, it could mean 21 million dollars in savings.... and it's those dollar signs that have not only private insurers, but state Medicaid programs, following suit. 

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