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Medicaid to quit paying for mistakes

MSNBC reports:

Medicaid will stop paying for about two dozen “never events” in hospitals, such as operations on the wrong body part and certain surgical-site infections, say federal officials.

Currently, about 21 states have such a nonpayment policy. The 2010 federal health law, in effect, expands the ban nationwide. The rule gives states until July 2012 to implement it.

Medicaid is a joint state-federal program for the poor and disabled. Under the rule, Medicaid funds can’t be used to pay doctors and hospitals for services that “result from certain preventable health care-acquired illnesses or injuries,” the officials said.

Savings from the step will be relatively small– only save about $35 million over the next 5 years. Still it’s nice to know that at least taxpayers won’t be charged the next time a doctor operates on the wrong body part.

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