The NY Times had a great article today discussing Medicare “Never Events”. These are events that should NEVER occur in a proper medical setting. In other words, if the medical providers are doing what they are supposed to be doing, these events should NEVER, EVER occur. And if they do occur, Medicare is saying that they will no longer pay Dr’s or hospitals for medical bills associated with these “Never” conditions. In other words, if the Dr’s or hospitals screw up and hurt someone, Medicare is saying the Dr’s or hospitals don’t get paid.

Hallelulah! Now that makes sense– instead of the medical providers getting paid more when they screw up, now they get paid nothing when they screw up. I certainly embrace this as a step in the right direction as it will create a huge financial incentive for the medical profession to implement procedures to ensure that “never events”, never occur.

So, what is a Never Event? Here’s the list from the NY Times:

Medicare Never Events

Medicare Never Events

Looking over the list of events that should NEVER occur, I am not surprised to see many of the types of events for which I have handled medical malpractice cases over the last 20 years–

— hospital falls because proper safety precautions were not taken,
— pulmonary embolish after surgery,
–surgical instruments left inside the patient,
–nasty bed sores because a patient wasn’t properly attended to or treated,
–infections, etc.

Although I am not surprised to see these things on the Never list, it makes me wonder why the Dr’s, Hospitals, their insurance companies and defense lawyers, fought me tooth and nail for year after year attempting to claim each and every one of these things could happen even though no one screwed up. Hmmm, I wonder….. I always thought that was a crock of bull and now it’s nice to have Medicare agree and stiff them on their bills.

Thanks for reading,

Jim Reed
NY Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Elmira, NY