Medicare nonpayment, hospital falls, and unintended consequences.
Approach to Improving Safety
Setting of Care
In October 2008, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services put into effect a new policy that withholds payments for eight preventable complications of care, including hospital falls. Safety experts have questioned the "wisdom and justice" of such a policy intervention, and this commentary shares similar concern about the unintended consequences. The authors address the limited evidence in preventing falls and raise greater concern about the tradeoff between preventing falls and a more important goal of encouraging patient mobility.