Hospitals Profit from Post-surgical Complications

According to a study published in the Journal for the American Medical Association in April 2013, hospitals stand to make a substantially higher profit when surgical errors occur.

Privately insured patients with no complications following surgery netted up to 330% less profit than those who experienced no complications. Likewise, patients insured under Medicare who experience post-surgical complications can earn profit for hospitals that are 190% higher than those for whom surgery proceeded smoothly.

The study, which involved analyzing the inpatient surgeries for over 34,000 procedures, determined that patient revenues averaged $30,500 higher when a complication arose following surgery (1,820 of the subjects experienced at least one complication. Average revenue per patient with one or more complications was $30,500 higher than for patients with no complications ($49,400 versus $18,900)

An incentive toward harm, rather than the patient’s well-being, is a troubling development. The study led industry specialists to infer that hospital finances are financially penalized for efforts to improve surgical outcomes.

“It’s been known that hospitals are not rewarded for quality, but it hadn’t been recognized exactly how much more money they make when harm is done,” Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor at Harvard School of Public Health, states in the report. “This clearly indicates that health care payment reform is necessary. Hospitals should financially gain—not lose—by reducing harm.”

Post-surgical complications can have serious financial and life-changing consequences.  If you or someone close to you has been seriously harmed due to a post-surgical complication or other medical treatment, it’s important that you protect your rights.  Contact Hill & Associates and speak with one of our knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyers.  We offer free, no-obligation case evaluations on all personal injury and medical malpractice cases.