Navigation Links
Consumers Union Supports Proposed Expansion of Medicare Policy to Withhold Payments to Hospitals That Harm Patients
Date:6/19/2008

Non-Payment Plan Aims to Reduce Preventable Hospital Acquired Infections & Medical Errors

WASHINGTON, June 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The federal government should expand its effort to restrict Medicare payments to hospitals for the cost of health care associated with certain infections and medical errors acquired during treatment, according to Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.

Last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted new rules that will end payments to hospitals for the extra care required to treat patients harmed by certain preventable hospital acquired conditions. Now the agency has proposed expanding the list of preventable conditions covered by the non-payment rules.

In comments submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Consumers Union said that a proposal by the agency to limit such payments would provide hospitals with a strong new financial incentive to improve patient care. Consumers Union urged CMS to strengthen the proposed regulations by expanding the types of preventable hospital acquired conditions that would result in lower Medicare payments and to clarify protections to ensure patients are treated fairly and get the care they need.

"By restricting payment for preventable medical errors and hospital acquired infections, Medicare is sending a powerful message to hospitals that harming patients will harm their bottom line," said Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union's Stop Hospital Infection's campaign (http://www.StopHospitalInfections.org). "This effort will ultimately save money and lives by motivating hospitals to follow long-standing patient safety practices that are too often ignored."

The nonpayment rules adopted by CMS last year cover certain urinary tract infections, staph aureaus bloodstream infections, and four other hospital errors unrelated to infections: serious bed sores, objects left in patients' bodies following surgery, blood incompatibility, and air embolism. These rules will go into effect on October 1.

Under the proposed regulations for 2009, Medicare would expand this policy by withholding payments to hospitals for the extra care associated with treating certain surgical site infections (specifically for total knee replacement, laparascopic gastric bypass and gastroeneterostomoy, and ligation and stripping of varicose veins); Legionnaires' disease (a type of pneumonia caused by a specific bacterium); extreme blood sugar derangement; Iatrogenic pneumothorax (collapse of the lung) delirium; ventilator-associated pneumonia; deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism (formation/movement of a blood clot); staphylococcus aureus septicemia (bloodstream infection); and Clostridium difficile associated disease (a bacterium that causes severe diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis).

"Taxpayers spend billions of dollars every year covering the cost of preventable hospital errors and infections," said McGiffert. "Restricting Medicare payments for these hospital acquired conditions will help ensure that taxpayer dollars pay for safer and more effective health care."

Consumers Union urged CMS to expand its current proposal by adding two more hospital acquired infections to the nonpayment list: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, and infections associated with hip replacement surgery.

Consumers Union also recommended adding preventable readmissions to the non-payment policy. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission found that almost 18 percent of Medicare hospital patients were readmitted within 30 days of discharge, at a cost of $15 billion to Medicare. The Commission concluded that 76 percent of readmissions after 30 days are preventable. Finally, Consumers Union urged CMS to add a disclosure component to the non-payment policy so that the public could find out which hospitals are having payments withheld because of preventable harm to patients.

When CMS adopted the initial non-payment rules last year, it included protections to prevent hospitals from billing patients when Medicare payments are withheld, and to prohibit hospitals from avoiding patients perceived to be at risk for infections. But Consumers Union raised concerns that these protections remain vague and should be clarified to ensure patients harmed by hospital acquired conditions aren't billed for the extra care associated with treating them.

"We remain concerned that there are no details regarding how Medicare intends to monitor and respond to patients who are unfairly billed or unfairly treated in these situations," said McGiffert. "Medicare should develop an expedited review process for claims from patients who have been harmed by their medical care."

A copy of Consumers Union's comment letter to CMS is available at:

http://www.consumersunion.org/campaigns/stophospitalinfections/learn.ht ml

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, is an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization serving only the consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health, nutrition, and other consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products, inform the public, and protect consumers. http://www.StopHospitalInfections.org, a project of Consumers Union, advocates for public disclosure of hospital-acquired infection rates.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Consumers Union
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. As Consumers Feel Financial Burden of Increasing Health Care Costs, Health Plans Have Opportunity to Address Unmet Consumer Needs and Become Trusted Advisors
2. CVS/pharmacy Makes It Easier for Consumers to Save Money and Track Spending with Health Savings and Flexible Spending Accounts
3. LeadCheck(R) Reminds Consumers that Bathtubs are Insidious Source for Dangerous Lead
4. Consumers Urged to Avoid Raw Milk and Raw Milk Products
5. Most States Fail to Protect Consumers Against Insurance Company Abuses
6. Consumers Energy and the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging Celebrate 20 Years of Helping Older Adults
7. Consumers Urged to Avoid Certain Tomatoes Amid Salmonella Scare
8. The HealthCentral Network Acquires MedTrackAlert, Extending its Ability to Reach Highly Engaged Online Health Consumers
9. Consumers Can Purchase Majority of Tomato Varieties
10. Kaiser Permanente and Microsoft Empower Consumers to Take Charge of Their Health
11. U.S. Web Site Helps Consumers Compare Hospitals
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:7/27/2017)... ... July 27, 2017 , ... Healthy eating isn’t always easy. Currently, more than 80 percent of ... many Americans overeat refined grains and sugar. This trend may help explain why the obesity ... U.S. are obese. , As a culture, we seem to have food on the brain ...
(Date:7/27/2017)... ... July 27, 2017 , ... HIMSS announced today that ... 2 of the HIMSS Healthcare Security Forum, the nation’s foremost event for health ... Sept. 11-13, 2017. , Daniel will deliver his keynote, The Evolving Healthcare Information ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... July 26, 2017 , ... Evergreen Healthcare Partners is proud ... efforts to provide innovative offerings to their healthcare partners. These solutions will help ... high-performing teams to address healthcare IT’s biggest challenges. , “Adding Talent Management Solutions ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... July 27, 2017 , ... It's time to sign up for the new ... benefits," says Kathy Heshelow, founder of Sublime Naturals and author of numerous books on essential ... each month, mailed by the 5th. , Two items are included in ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... 26, 2017 , ... IDC-Eating Disorder Care is excited to announce ... in Royal Oak, Michigan. IDC, formerly known as Inner Door Center, was ... highest standards in the field of eating disorder treatment in the state of Michigan. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Zymo Research Corp., also known as ,The Epigenetics ... biological aging in a precise manner using the myDNAge ™ test. ... a professor of human genetics and biostatistics at the David Geffen ... Health , Zymo Research,s proprietary DNAge ™ technology is used to ... ...
(Date:7/11/2017)... , July 11, 2017  Sysmex America, Inc., ... diagnostic testing equipment as well as middleware information ... way to make quality assurance easier and more ... is well known for the innovation that it ... Monitor elevates quality assurance processes to a new ...
(Date:7/10/2017)... July 10, 2017  US medical equipment and supply ... according to Medical Equipment & Supplies: United ... Focus Reports. Continued increases in demand for medical services ... the population and supported by gains in disposable personal ... supplies. New product introductions will also drive sales as ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: