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Medical errors no longer covered by Medicare and Medicaid; private insurers to follow suit

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced officially that beginning in October 2008 expenses incurred from medical mistakes made by health care providers will no longer be eligible for reimbursement. Providers will also be prohibited from charging patients for these expenses. Private insurers will likely follow suit. Medical malpractice is a pervasive problem for health care in Illinois and in America as a whole. Each year, 1.5 million patients are injured and thousands die from medical errors. The expenses resulting from these mistakes add up, averaging about $29 billion in additional care services and loss of productivity. It is yet to be determined how CMS will determine what the appropriate standard of care is, and it will also have to define “preventable errors” in cases of medical malpractice.