Hospital Mistakes Now Free of Charge

Docs operate on wrong limb, transfuse incorrect blood type? That's a freebie.

NBC 5 News/Ross Family

An increasing number of states are no longer charging patients for mistakes in care so egregious that they are referred to as "never mistakes" because they should never happen. Examples would be removal of a healthy kidney instead of a diseased one, amputation of a wrong limb, or being given the wrong type of blood. Hospitals in 23 states now have policies in place that waive fees when medical care is incorrectly administered, according to MSNBC. The head of the Tennessee Hospital Association, Craig Becker, told the news outlet, “It really does go to the heart of our patients’ confidence. When you look at these adverse events, these are pretty gross errors.” Changes in Medicare policy are also influencing how hospitals will or will not be paid for sub-standard care. Medicare officials recently added two items to the list of eight medical errors that the program would refuse to pay for, including surgical site infections, and deep vein thrombosis that occurs as a result of hip replacements. A map of the United States and differing billing policies regarding medical mistakes is available here.

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