Employers Don't Want to Pay for Hospital Errors

February 24, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A new survey by the Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH) finds employer support for non-payment of "never events" -preventable hospital errors and hospital-acquired infections.

According to a press release, more than 60% of employers surveyed said they should pay for conditions that arose after the covered patient was admitted to a hospital, if the facility was not at fault. However, once employers became aware that Medicare had identified conditions which should never happen to a patient and will not pay for services related to such situations, close to 80% of health care purchasers agreed that their health plans should adopt the same payment policies as Medicare related to those conditions, the announcement said.

Nearly all employer respondents said hospitals should not bill patients for services not paid for by their benefits for events that experts say should not happen in a hospital.

MBGH found 68% of employers in support of bringing together plans, hospitals, employers, and consumer and government agencies to define and address what conditions hospitals should focus on from the “never events” and Medicare hospital-acquired conditions lists.

“Most small- and mid-size employers are unaware of the impact of “never events” to their growing costs for health care,” said Joseph Balasa, chief operating officer for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, in the press release. “We are looking to the large employers, hospitals and health plans to make progress in solving this problem so the entire community can benefit from improved quality and safety of health care.”