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Stop, Stop, You're Killing Me

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Actually, you're killing us all. More conditions for which Medicare won't pay.

"Never events." What a great term. In case you haven't heard it, the reference is to complications or outcomes for which, in essence, it's considered (by Medicare) that there's no excuse. Should never happen. No how. And, incidentally, for which we won't pay. The list is expanding.

There's only so much one can say without tearing out one's hair or shooting someone. It seems self-evident: bad stuff happens under the best of circumstances. If you do everything right, manage an incision perfectly with just the right timing and choice of antibiotics, proper preparation, everything done properly, some will still get infected. Given low-dose heparin, intra-operative booties, early ambulation, there will still be the occasional patient with deep vein thrombosis. The best surgeons, doing everything right, will have "never events." Unless they "never" operate.

So where are we headed? To a point, it would seem, where Medicare and -- as is the case as the other insurers inevitably follow suit -- the entire system will expect and pay only for perfect outcomes. And what will be the inevitable result? More and more doctors refusing to accept Medicare patients. And, most assuredly, fewer and fewer people choosing to become doctors (surgeons, anyway!) in the first place. Brilliant.

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Comments (4)

Submitted by Abdominoplasty New Jersey (not verified) on Sat, 08/02/2008 - 1:42pm.

This is absolutely ridiculous...it sounds like Medicare is simply trying to save money.

Submitted by Liposuction Dallas (not verified) on Fri, 08/08/2008 - 7:51pm.

I agree with the previous commenter...it is impractical for Medicare to expect a doctor to be flawless everytime.

Submitted by winamax poker (not verified) on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 7:42am.

Thanks to all who responded, and especially Sid who kindly got me through recovering the database late at night. The guys at Sid have always been very knowledgeable and very helpful.

Submitted by Back Pain Relief on Fri, 01/20/2012 - 1:07pm.

Unfortunately, in a nation where money speaks louder than any language, we're heading to a healthcare system that caters to the well-heeled. If you so happen to require back pain relief via surgery, you're better off doing so overseas as it's getting too cost prohibitive doing it in the US of A.



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