A recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Association shows that some hospitals may actually be profiting from mistakes they have made when performing surgery. The study, which was conducted with records from 2010, shows that hospitals reap over $30,000 on average in fees from the mistakes their doctors make during surgery. Mistakes that lead to blood clots, pneumonia, and other infections.
While those who conducted the study, researchers from the Boston Consulting Group, Harvard, and Texas Health Resources, state that they do not believe that hospitals are intentionally causing mistakes to boost their fees. But they do still receive the financial benefits of those mistakes.
While it is hard to believe that hospitals would actively encourage doctors to make mistakes in order to produce additional fees, it is not unbelievable to see how mistake prone physicians could be rewarded for their lack of diligence. In hospitals where doctors are not merely employees, but had some financial stake in the outcome of their cases, those who billed more fees would be incentivized to continue those mistakes, while better doctors would not see the same compensation.
This study, which shows that postoperative complications from heart surgery, spinal surgery, and neurological treatments netted the highest additional income, showed that some post-op complications boosted their fees by as much as $44,000 per occurrence.
This and other complications with the fee-for-service system that U.S. hospitals currently follow, is one of the drivers that is moving Medicare to a pay-for-performance model. Both models are exactly what they sound like, and both have their proponents and detractors.
We believe that regardless of what you are going into the hospital for, you have the right to the best treatment, and the best care. Whatever encouragements are given to the physicians treating you should encourage them to provide you with the best services rather than services that are “good enough.”
Complications from surgery, even those that are seemingly minor, can have drastic and sometimes catastrophic consequences. We would like to see a compensation package that promoted good practices, and good care be put in place, and that those physicians with the best records for patient safety and care be rewarded for that performance.
If you feel that you or a loved one suffered due to improper care during a visit to a hospital, we encourage you to contact us and let us review the facts of the matter. We may be able to get compensation for any hardships you or your family have experienced due to poor treatment.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. Orlando Medical Malpractice Attorneys