Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Friday, September 12, 2008

CMS targets blood sugar errors

Medicare will add Lisa's

'never event' to its no-pay list

By David Baker
Posted Sunday August 3, 2008

Starting in October, Medicare will no longer pay hospitals for treating injuries caused by low blood-glucose levels.

This so-called "never event" is one of 28 conditions identified by the National Quality Forum as errors that should never happen, and that a growing number of insurers are declining to pay for.

The rule change approved this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services describes the condition as "patient death or serious disability associated with hypoglycemia, the onset of which occurs while the patient is being cared for in a healthcare facility."

Lisa died in Samaritan Hospital three weeks after she was found in her hospital bed with - according to the hospital's own records - a blood glucose level of just 2 mg/dL

A normal reading is 80 to 140 mg/dL.

The hospital has denied any responsibility for Lisa's death.

Meanwhile, Samaritan and Albany Memorial Hospital - both of which are owned by Northeast Health Inc. - appear in a survey conducted by the respected Leapfrog Group on a wide range of patient safety issues,

Both hospitals are listed as "declined to respond."