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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Hails State Action on Preventable Medical Errors

CONTACT: Jay McQuaide
(617) 246-2365
Jay.McQuaide@bcbsma.com

Boston — June 18, 2008 — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) applauds today's action by state government to no longer pay for costs associated with 28 serious reportable health care events - also known as "never events." This decision is consistent with BCBSMA's own efforts to improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of the health care system.

Cleve Killingsworth, Chairman and CEO of BCBSMA, said, "We strongly support the state's decision to not pay for these preventable medical errors and applaud the Patrick Administration for making Massachusetts the first state in the country to adopt such a non-payment policy."

Killingsworth also announced today BCBSMA's intention to stop reimbursing hospitals for costs related to the 28 preventable medical errors included in the new state policy. These errors include surgery on the wrong body part, leaving an object inside a patient after surgery, or a patient death associated with a medication error.

Andrew Dreyfus, Executive Vice President for Health Care Services, noted that many Massachusetts hospitals have voluntarily stopped charging patients and insurers for some of the 28 preventable medical errors included in the state policy. He said BCBSMA looks forward to working collaboratively with hospitals and state government to ensure that no patient is harmed from an avoidable medical error.

 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ( http://www.bluecrossma.com ) was founded more than 70 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to more than 3 million members, 2.5 million in Massachusetts. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

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