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Does Medicare pay for 'never events'?

A "never event" is a medical error that shouldn't ever occur. The term was introduced in 2001, but in 2011, the list of never events now includes 29 events that are broken down into six categories. Those categories include:

-- Surgical

-- Product or device

-- Care management

-- Patient protection

-- Radiologic

-- Environmental

-- Criminal

There are many examples of never events, including surgery performed on the wrong patient or body party, the use of contaminated drugs, suicide, medication errors and more. The incidence of a never event is very rare; however, when they do occur, they are usually devastating to patients.

Because of the effect a never event can have on a patient and because these mistakes are preventable, there is increasing pressure on health care organizations to eliminate them. In 2007, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that Medicare would not cover the additional expenses associated with never events. Since early 2009, CMS hasn't paid for any expenses related to wrong-site services.

At Barry D Lang MD & Associates, we represent those who have suffered injury or illness or whose loved ones have passed away due to medical negligence or malpractice. This includes never events. Doctors have a responsibility to meet the standard of care when it comes to the care they provide to their patients. If they do not do so, then victims and their families may file a lawsuit to hold the physicians accountable for their actions.

If you want to learn more about medical negligence and never events, please read over our webpages on the topics.

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