Study Finds That Hospital Profits Linked To Surgical Complications

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical School and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that hospitals are raking in huge profits when it comes to treating surgical complications, infections and other problems.

The study looked at an unnamed hospital chain in the southern U.S. in 2010 and the discrepancies between what the hospitals were paid if a patient didn’t suffer complications and if they did was nothing short of astounding. Patients who didn’t suffer complications averaged a 3-day stay at the hospital and an average bill of $18,900. Compare that with patients who did suffer some kind of surgical complication: they spent an average of 14 days in the hospital and paid an average bill of $49,400.

Five percent of the 34,256 surgical patients that were treated at the chain’s hospitals suffered at least one complication.

The co-author of the study told the Huffington Post that although hospitals don’t actively seek post-surgical complications, it is a troublesome economic model that actually rewards a hospital for failing to reduce those complications.

“That’s crazy. It shouldn’t be that way,” the co-author stated. “Surgical patients with complications generate higher hospital profits than patients without complications. The fact is, oftentimes we are paying for harm.”

The study went on to show that hospitals tend to make more money from patients with private insurance, as opposed to patients who are covered by Medicare or Medicaid – simply because private insurers will pay more for procedures, and federal programs such as Medicare link payment rates to hospitals’ efforts to improve patient safety.

Have you suffered a preventable post-surgery complication or injury? You may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering, medical bills and other damages. Contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Farah & Farah and we will review your case. We can be reached at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online. Of course, your consultation will be free.