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"Never Events" Might Lead to "Never Treatment”

The efforts to decrease the incidence of preventable errors in medical treatment


The efforts by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Federal Government to improve the quality of healthcare and decrease the incidence of preventable errors in medical treatment (known as "Never Events") should be applauded. This is a difficult and complicated but important task. The American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) and other organizations share CMS's goal of promoting high quality, safe and effective care for all patients. We have met with CMS on numerous occasions to help promote these efforts and make constructive comment on the proposed rules.

Furthermore, we support a payment system that advocates quality care, including withholding payment for certain "Never Events" that should truly not occur, such as operating on the wrong limb. Every effort should be made to eliminate preventable hospital-acquired conditions. The AAHKS is concerned that if CMS includes complications that are not always reasonably preventable on the hospital-acquired condition list, this may have the unintended negative affect of restricting patient's access to and quality of care.

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