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First-in-the-Nation Health Care Billing Policy Announced in Minnesota
Date:9/18/2007

Minnesota hospitals, health plans and state establish statewide billing

policy for care made necessary by an adverse health event

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a speech to the Center for Health Transformation today, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced that Minnesota is the first state in the nation to establish a statewide billing policy for care made necessary by preventable medical errors, or so- called "adverse health events," such as wrong-site surgeries and serious medication errors.

Under the agreement, hospitals in Minnesota will not bill insurance companies and others for any of the 27 types of reported "adverse health events," ensuring that patients will not have to pay for care made necessary by an adverse event. The adverse health events are defined by the National Quality Forum. The Governor's Health Care Cabinet endorsed the plan created by the Minnesota Hospital Association and the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. The policy builds on Minnesota's history of leadership in this area.

"It seems obvious to us, but Minnesota is the first state in the nation to agree that patients, employers and insurers shouldn't pay for care made necessary by an adverse health event," Governor Pawlenty said. "I want to thank our hospitals and health plans for their leadership in addressing this issue. We hope more states will follow our lead."

"One adverse health event is too many," Minnesota Hospital Association President Bruce Rueben said. "Our highest priority is to eliminate preventable errors in health care delivery. Until that happens, patients can have confidence they will never have to pay for care made necessary by an adverse event."

This policy formalizes the current billing practice of Minnesota hospitals. "Health plans are partnering with providers to ensure this statewide policy is implemented for every patient, every time," said Julie Brunner, Executive Director of the Minnesota Counc
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SOURCE Minnesota Council of Health Plans
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