Medicare’s designation of nonreimbursable events drives patient safety

Nearly five years after federal health regulators ended Medicare reimbursements for certain hospital-acquired conditions, experts say the feared onslaught of malpractice losses resulting from the change has yet to materialize.

Since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s 2008 designation of 27 nonreimbursable never events — hospital-acquired problems such as infections, injuries, medication errors, pressure ulcers and foreign objects left after surgery, which regulators determined were reasonably preventable and would no longer be reimbursed through Medicare — the average frequency of hospital professional liability claims rose 1% in 2012 vs. 2008. Meanwhile, the severity rate increased 1.3%, according to a 2012 study by London-based Aon P.L.C. and the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management.

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