props to my colleagues at the acp internist blog. i've been linked on their site (see under sept 29 post). recently i came across their "medical news of the obvious" posts and found them very entertaining. i have to say, they took an idea i'm sure many of us have had but actually put it to print. i come across a lot of articles in my weekly perusings and a number of them come to such obvious conclusions, i wonder why someone actually spent time and money to publish it. maybe that's the point, to get their name in print. heck, let's be honest, i'm mostly jealous!
well, this is october 1. another day, another month you say? not quite, today marks the day that cms (center for medicare and medicaid services, responsible for the largest share of and policy directing physician payments) will stop paying for "never" events. what are these? these are events that in the mind of cms, they/we/the government will not pay for since they feel if proper measures are taken, they would never occur in the hospital. see among many others this site to list the events.
certainly, improved quality in the hospital has to start somewhere but to all of a sudden deny payment seems a little drastic. okay, i can understand that they wouldn't pay for complications related to a severe reaction from a blood transfusion. that is usually due to a clerical error. i can even understand that if a surgeon operated on a patient and left an instrument inside accidentally, there would not be payment to cover treatment for those complications. however, some events, no matter how vigilant or good the treatment, cannot be prevented 100%. for example, a deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (which i will discuss in a later post) after knee or hip surgery is not a completely preventable event. even if the surgeons use proper medication to prevent these clots from forming, the fact is, the medications are not 100% effective! somehow this obvious fact has escaped the mind of cms. well, more on that later. i need to eat some ice cream and go to bed.