Case Management

CMW News: Survey reports physician concerns regarding never events

Case Management Weekly, November 12, 2008

On October 1, CMS began withholding additional payments to hospitals for certain identified serious and preventable events, known as “never events.”

The never events are:

  • Object inadvertently left in a patient after surgery
  • Air embolism
  • Blood incompatibility
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infection
  • Pressure ulcer (decubitus ulcer)
  • Vascular catheter-associated infection
  • Surgical site infection, mediastinitis (infection in the chest), after coronary artery bypass graft surgery
  • Certain types of falls and trauma

QuantiaMD, an online physician community, took a nationwide survey of physicians to gauge their opinions and preparedness for the new CMS policy. The survey showed that physicians do not find all of the never events 100% preventable.

For example, of the physicians surveyed, only 5% said they believed vascular catheter-associated infections are 100% preventable, and only slightly more than 70% said leaving a foreign object in a patient after surgery is completely preventable.

However, more than 70% of physicians surveyed reported being aware of this CMS initiative. Robert M. Wachter, MD, professor of medicine at University of California at San Francisco, and investigator for the QuantiaMD survey, says this is a much higher level of awareness than usual for physicians regarding CMS initiatives.

Source: Medical News Today

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