Update on “never events”

By David H. Sohn, JD, MD

Recent legal proceedings relieve fears of “strict liability” with never events

When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated its project on “never events,” few imagined that it would lead to increased risk exposure for physicians. This project was meant both to raise awareness of preventable errors that should never happen, such as wrong-site surgery or retention of surgical instruments within a patient, and to save the government money by declaring that expenses associated with treating the never event will not be paid for by Medicare or Medicaid.

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