New WellPoint Policy on ‘Never Events’ Will Apply to California Subsidiary
WellPoint's new policy not to reimburse hospitals for preventable and harmful medical errors will extend to its Anthem Blue Cross subsidiary in California, formerly known as Blue Cross of California, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Anthem Blue Cross is California's largest health insurer.
WellPoint announced the policy change on Wednesday and said that it would apply to all of its Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans. The insurer said the policy is intended to reduce medical errors, improve the quality of care for patients and reduce costs.
The decision follows the lead of a similar Medicare policy that refuses to pay for "never events" such as leaving foreign objects inside of patients after surgery or transfusing the wrong type of blood to a patient.
Zeinab Dabbah, chief medical officer for Anthem Blue Cross, said, "What we're trying to do is pay for it when it's not the facility's error, but not pay for it when the facility wasn't doing the right thing" (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/3).
Other insurers, such as Aetna, adopted or are considering similar reimbursement policies (East Bay Business Times, 4/3).
On Wednesday, the California Hospital Association and other hospital systems declined to comment on the policy change, according to the Chronicle.
Dabbah said that the policy would not affect physician payments at this time but that Anthem Blue Cross is examining that option (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/3).