A major health fund and private hospital group have agreed to forgo payments for 'never events', which is a major step toward improving Australian health outcomes according to Private Healthcare Australia (PHA).
PHA has been advocating private and public hospitals to adopt the non-payment policy' for many years, said the CEO of the Private Health Insurance industry's peak body, Dr Michael Armitage.
The policy involves hospitals and health practitioners giving up any payments for procedures that are necessitated because of a 'never event' or avoidable medical accident.
'Never events' are serious medical mistakes or patient safety incidents that should never happen. They are often inexcusable and almost always preventable.
These mistakes could include performing surgery on the wrong limb, being transfused with incompatible blood or having a surgical instrument left inside the patient – requiring further surgery to have it removed.
It is the belief of many people in the health industry that patients should not be financially responsible for 'never events', on the off chance they do occur.
"Private health insurers are not interested in becoming involved in clinical decisions, but they do want their members to have the best possible treatment in a safe environment," Dr Armitage said in an October 22 media release.
Australian health insurance providers are hoping medical practitioners adopting the latest clinical guidelines will allow their clients to have the best possible treatment in a safe environment.