Paying for medical mistakes

    A bill that passed the state Senate unanimously lists a handful of errors that patients and insurance companies should not be billed for.

    The New Jersey legislature is considering a bill that would let patients see the medical mistakes made by each hospital in the state. The bill also outlines who would pay for those mistakes. From WHYY’s health and science desk, Kerry Grens reports.

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    The law would require the state health department to publish mistakes such as an injury to a newborn or an accidental cut. On top of that, the bill forces hospitals and doctors to take financial responsibility for some of those mistakes. Jessica Cohen is director of legislation for the New Jersey Hospital Association. Her group supports the bill, but takes issue with making hospitals pay for some mistakes they say are nearly impossible to avoid.

    Cohen: Catheter-associated urinary tract infections is one of those events that will occur even if you do everything correct…We feel that those, the hospital and the doctor should be able to pass the cost along to Medicare and third party payers.

    The New Jersey Senate passed the bill unanimously. It is now under consideration in the Assembly.

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