Medicare has adopted a new policy whereby it will no longer pay hospital costs incurred by patients due to medical errors. The policy is designed to force hospitals to take responsibility for their own mistakes. The policy also obviously seeks to reduce the amount Medicare pays out in the form of medical bill payments. However, Medicare’s new policy may ultimately result in patients who are victims of medical error being victimized twice in that the hospitals will now seek payment directly from the patients when Medicare denies payment for their medical treatment. In circumstances where a hospital requires pre-treatment authorization of payment, Medicare’s new policy may also result in patients who are the victims of medical error being denied treatment required to remedy the medical error.
Medicare’s new policy excludes from coverage the extra costs of treating preventable errors, injuries and infections that occur in hospitals. Among the conditions that will be affected are pressure ulcers and bedsores, injuries caused by falls, and infections resulting from the prolonged use of catheters in blood vessels or the bladder. In addition, Medicare’s new policy will deny payment for treatment of “serious preventable events” like leaving a sponge or other object in a patient during surgery and providing a patient with incompatible blood or blood products.
If you were the victim of a medical error caused by a hospital or doctor, call the DLP team of Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorneys for a free evaluation of your right to compensation, including your right to payment for medical treatment caused by the medical error.
John P. Finnerty, Esquire