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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Effect of nonpayment for preventable infections in U.S. hospitals.

Lee GM, Kleinman K, Soumerai SB, et al. The New England journal of medicine. 2012;367:1428-37.

In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) eliminated reimbursement for certain preventable errors and hospital-acquired infections. This landmark policy aimed to align financial disincentives with adverse events, an increasingly utilized strategy. However, this AHRQ-funded study found that the "no pay for errors" policy had no measurable effect on rates of catheter–associated bloodstream infections and catheter–associated urinary tract infections in hospitals in the United States. No subgroup of hospitals or patients identified in this national evaluation seemed to clearly benefit from this policy change. The benefits and limitations of the CMS policy are discussed in an AHRQ WebM&M interview with Dr. Robert Wachter.