About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs 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
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccines May Improve Mental Health
Printed Temperature Sensors help with Continuous Temperature Monitoring
Health Benefits of Giloy
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.


Recommended Reading
Insufficient Use of Hypothermia in Cardiac Arrest Treatment in US Hospitals
Despite evidence of therapeutic hypothermia to ease mortality and improve neurologic outcomes after ...
US Hospitals Implement Biometrics Technology to Avoid Health Insurance Fraud
Hospitals across the US are implementing high-tech biometrics technology to prevent insurance fraud ...
Medicine Shortages Could Prove Costly in US Hospitals
More and more hospitals across the United States are experiencing shortages of medicines...
Wide Variation in Cesarean Delivery Rates Observed in US Hospitals
Hospital cesarean delivery rates were noted to be varying in the hospitals in US, reported by the .....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

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