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Medicare won’t pay for medical errors

New York Times, October 1, 2008

Beginning today, Medicare will stop paying hospitals for the added cost of treating patients who are injured in their care. Medicare has put 10 "reasonably preventable" conditions on its initial list, saying it will not pay when patients receive incompatible blood transfusions, develop infections after certain surgeries, or must undergo a second operation to retrieve a sponge left behind from the first. Serious bed sores, injuries from falls, and urinary tract infections caused by catheters are also on the list. Officials believe that the regulations could apply to several hundred thousand hospital stays of the 12.5 million Medicare covers annually. The policy will also prevent hospitals from billing patients directly for costs generated by medical errors.