Thursday, August 19, 2010

Adverse consequences of Medicare's “no pay for errors” rule

It leads to inappropriate management choices:

Residents were randomized to receive a one-page description of Medicare’s “no pay for errors” rule with pre-vignette reminders (intervention group) or no information (control group). Residents responded to five clinical vignettes in which “no pay for errors” conditions might be present on admission.

Primary outcome was selection of the single most clinically appropriate option from three clinical practice choices presented for each clinical vignette.

Survey administered from December 2008 to March 2009. There were 119 responses (71%). In four of five vignettes, the intervention group was less likely to select the most clinically appropriate response. This was statistically significant in two of the cases. Most residents were aware of the rule but not its impact and specifics. Residents acknowledged responsibility to know Medicare documentation rules but felt poorly trained to do so. Residents educated about the Medicare’s “no pay for errors” were less likely to select the most clinically appropriate responses to clinical vignettes. Such choices, if implemented in practice, have the potential for causing patient harm through unnecessary tests, procedures, and other interventions.

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