More On Never Events


Today I did an op-ed piece on Kevin’s blog about insurers that are refusing to pay for the care of patients who suffer “never events.” Surf over to Kevin, MD to check it out.

I realize that we must improve the safety of our patients, but is cutting payments to financially strapped hospitals really the way to go about doing so – especially for some events that cannot be prevented?

My prediction is that patients prone to these bad outcomes are going to be shunned so that hospitals can avoid the possibility of the financial hit associated with “never events.”

I hope that I’m wrong.


There’s an disturbing discussion about the op-ed opinion also going on over at Maggie Mahar’s blog. Some people just don’t get it. Check it out.


  1. What if the pt acquired the event outside of the hospital and then was treated for it at the hospital?

    Sometimes pressure sores, fractured bones, UTIs aren’t diagnosed until a person actually seeks care. Shouldn’t hospitals be reimbursed for treating those people?

    That’s one of the other silly things about this proposal. If these events happen outside of the hospital, they aren’t considered “never events” and will be reimbursed. The “never event” status only applies if these events occur inside the hospital.
    That will drive up the cost of care by forcing hospitals to prove that a patient had a condition before being admitted in order to get reimbursed. For example, mandatory urine testing and x-ray surveys before any patient can be admitted to the hospital.

  2. unintended consequences…. thinking ahead…

    Hospital A creates a “never event” but doesn’t have the resources to manage the treatment. Hospital A transfered patient to Hospital B.

    Does hospital B get paid from Medicare? And if Hospital B gets paid, why shouldn’t hospital A get paid?

    Does hospital B sue hospital A to get paid?

    Does hospital B and C and E and F and… refuse to accept a patient that needs a higher level of care as a result of a never event?

  3. Pingback: United “FraudCare” « WhiteCoat’s Call Room

Leave A Reply