Never Events

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Never Event

Oluwatosin Eleyinafe

HSA 268
Professor Garcia

November 22, 2012

Healthcare facilities are very active institutions. Each part must be functioning correctly, from delivery systems and issues of Managed Care and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to the National Quality Forum (NQF). These different parts of healthcare facilities are constantly dealing with many different situations that arise. Sometimes circumstances that should not take place occur. These types of circumstances are known as Never Events. As these events rise in number, the safety of patients is decreased; this forces the healthcare facility to find new and improved ways to ensure the safety of patients and reduce medical errors. Never events are dangerous and should never be allowed to occur. The issue of never events has become such a huge event that starting October 1, 2008 Medicare refuses to reimburse hospitals in the case of patients that have suffered these events. Patients are also not allowed to be billed for these incidents; it is the responsibility of the hospitals to pay for harm and damages. By doing this Medicare has made sure to improve the safety and value of patients’ lives (Lippmann, 2008). An example of a never event is the following: someone suffering from a spinal injury in an ambulance is being rushed to the emergency room. When the patient reaches the hospital, they are placed on a gurney. Suddenly, the gurney is spotted rolling down the hallway of the hospital by itself without anyone to direct it to where it needs to go. The unfortunate patient crashes into a wall and is permanently paralyzed. This type of situation could and should have been avoided. While the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services states that it would never pay for the charges of never events that occur in a healthcare facility, it will pay for the treatment of a patient who is suffering from the consequences of a never event. In 2008, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services stated that it would stop paying for the damages of Never Events because approximately twenty states have either started removing or are removing the cost of payment for never events from their healthcare facilities. Some insurance companies, like WellPoint, have also started taking action in eliminating payments in the case of never events. Removing the payment of these events in every state has proven difficult because each state has its own laws regarding never events. Regardless of the state’s laws, Medicare will not pay for any charges that the hospital has billed a patient from never events if it came from that hospital (Lippmann, 2008).

The National Quality Forum is a voluntary consensus standard setting organization first was established in 1999. Its mission is “to improve the quality of American health care by setting national priorities and goals for performance improvement, endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance and promoting the attainment of national goals through education and outreach programs” (Fuhrmans, 2008). This consensus made steps toward making an improvement regarding patients’ safety due to medical errors. The NQF views safety as a fundamental characteristic as well as the importance of quality healthcare. All this is to identify and authorize never events (Fuhrmans, 2008). These preventable medical errors often lead to serious medical issues and in some cases death and result in more than 4.5 billion dollars in additional health spending every year (Fuhrmans, 2008). These alarming results need to be decreased. They can only be stopped by the total awareness and motivation of hospitals and engaging staff.

Most patients who have suffered from medical malpractice are unaware they are suffering from an occurrence that never should have happened in the first place. Patients who are being tormented because of medical errors have actions that they can take to be...
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