About Careers MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

US Hospitals Make More Money With Wrong Surgeries: Study

by Bidita Debnath on April 17, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Font : A-A+

US Hospitals Make More Money With Wrong Surgeries: Study

A study found that US hospitals face a disincentive to improve care because they make drastically more money when surgery goes wrong than when a patient is discharged with no complications.

"We found clear evidence that reducing harm and improving quality is perversely penalized in our current health care system," said study author Sunil Eappen, chief medical officer of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Advertisement

An estimated $400 billion is spent on surgery in the United States every year.

Privately insured patients with complications provide hospitals with a 330 percent higher profit margin than those whose surgeries went smoothly, the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found.
Advertisement

Patients whose bills are paid by Medicare -- a government insurance plan for the elderly and disabled -- produced a 190 percent higher profit margin when complications arose following surgery.

"It's been known that hospitals are not rewarded for quality," said study author Atul Gawande, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and director of Ariadne Labs.

"But it hadn't been recognized exactly how much more money they make when harm is done."

While effective methods to reduce complications have been identified by researchers, the authors said that hospitals have been slow to implement them.

"This is clear indication that health care payment reform is necessary," Gawande added. "Hospitals should gain, not lose, financially from reducing harm."

The researchers analyzed data from 34,256 surgical inpatients discharged in 2010 from a non-profit, 12-hospital system in the southern United States. A total of 1,820 procedures were identified with at least one complication.

They found that complications were associated with a $39,017 higher profit margin per patient ($55,953 vs. $16,936) for privately insured patients. For Medicare patients, the profit margin per patient was higher by $1,749 ($3,687 vs. $1,880).

Conversely, profit margins were significantly lower when complications arouse with patients who paid out of pocket or through the government-funded Medicaid program to assist low-income children and adults.

That means that while so-called "safety-net" hospitals which primarily treat patients who are either uninsured or covered by Medicaid, reducing complications could improve financial performance.

But most hospitals would see their financial performance hurt if they reduced complications.

Source: AFP
Advertisement

Advertisement
Advertisement

Latest Research News

What Are the Effects of Smoking on Quality of Life?
Tobacco smoke contains toxic chemicals which damage lungs, weaken the immune system and cause tuberculosis.
 Brain Shape Controls Our Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviour
Identifying an unappreciated relationship between brain shape and activity overturns the century-old paradigm emphasizing the importance of complex brain connectivity.
Eight Threats to Black Adult's Longevity
Decoding the eight factors affecting Black adults' life expectancy.
Beyond the Campus: Contrasting Realities Revealed!
Sobering truth about foot travel in the United States emerges from international statistics, highlighting the prevalence of walking on the Blacksburg campus.
Astounding Link Between Darwin's Theory and Synaptic Plasticity  Discovered!
Unveiling a hidden mechanism, proteins within brain cells exhibit newfound abilities at synapses, reinforcing Darwin's theory of adaptation and diversity in the natural world.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
×

US Hospitals Make More Money With Wrong Surgeries: Study Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests