"Medicare has listed eight preventable conditions (above) for which it will not reimburse hospitals after Oct. 1, 2008, and is proposing nine more conditions to be added in 2009. The effects could widen as private insurers and state-funded health insurance programs begin to follow Medicare's lead.
Some of the eight have been dubbed "never events" because they should never happen. They include leaving sponges or implements in a patient after surgery and giving the wrong type of blood. Several hospital-acquired infections are also on the list. In 2007, almost 500,000 hospitalized Medicare patients were hurt by the eight preventable events.
While the new rule bars hospitals from passing the bill on to the patient, it addresses only charges accrued in the initial hospital stay. But patients might need continuing treatment that adds up to a bundle. Consumers Union has asked Medicare to clarify that patients who are harmed by these preventable conditions will not be billed for any of the additional care they need."
I didn't realize that the continuing costs of treatment following a hospital acquired condition were not addressed by the legislation. So...stay tuned. When Consumers Reports dot Org receives an update, I will pass it on.