Starting in 2008, if your surgeon neglects to remove that sponge from your abdomen, Medicare won’t pay for the subsequent procedure to retrieve it. Under some new rules just issued, Medicare will no longer pay for the costs associated with “preventable” conditions acquired in the hospital. Some examples include hospital-acquired infections, bed sores and transfusions of the wrong blood type. The hospitals themselves will have to pay the associated costs. Thankfully, the hospitals are prohibited from passing the costs onto the patients. Some health care specialists believe the change in the rules will give hospitals a stonger incentive to prevent mistakes from happening in the first place. In particular, hospitals will now have a real incentive to focus on preventing patients from developing infections. The CDC estimates that 2 million people get hospital infections each year – resulting in 100,000 deaths and an additional $27 million dollars in medical expense.