Corporate Compliance

Oregon hospitals to stop charging for never events

Compliance Monitor, March 12, 2008

Oregon is the latest state to decide to stop charging for preventable medical errors, according to a press release from the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS).

All 57 Oregon hospitals will no longer charge for costs connected to preventable medical errors, known as never events, if an investigation by the hospital determines the error was avoidable.

Never events range from surgery on the wrong body part to foreign objects being left in a patient after surgery. Under the guidelines, Oregon hospitals will not seek payment for additional charges directly resulting from an event if:

  • The event results in an increased length of stay, level of care, or significant intervention
  • An additional procedure is required to correct an event in the previous procedure
  • An unintended procedure is performed
  • Re-admission is required as a result of an event that occurred in that same facility

A complete list of qualifying preventable medical errors is included in the policy.

Medicare announced in August 2007 that it would stop paying for preventable medical errors in October 2008. Since then four states-Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Washington-have agreed to waive fees for all never events. Other states have agreed to not charge for some never events.


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