Massachusetts Won’t Pay Docs to Fix Medical Mistakes

June 20, 2008

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its largest private health insurer have announced policies that prohibit hospitals and doctors from billing for costs relating to fixing medical errors.

Health policy analysts say the directives outlined separately on Wednesday by the state and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts increase the pressure on hospitals to eliminate mistakes and improve the quality of care.

The state and Blue Cross policies apply to 28 types of surgical, medication, and other errors identified by a national coalition. They include operating on the wrong limb and giving the wrong dose of medication.

Jim Conway, senior vice president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, says 70 such errors were reported to the state in the first five months of this year.

The changes are part of a national effort.


Information from: The Boston Globe

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