Medical errors profitable for some hospitals

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

New York hospitals may actually make more money when patients do not receive proper treatment. This information comes from a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers found that instead of causing hospitals to lose money, surgical errors actually led to insurance companies paying hospitals more to cover the extended care that was needed as a result of errors.

The study looked at over 34,000 patients who had surgeries in 2010 and found that just over 1,800 of those patients had preventable complications, such as pneumonia, infections or blood clots. Those who ended up suffering from medical errors had their median stay extended to 14 days and ended up bringing in an average of over $30,000 in additional revenue. While the researchers do not believe that hospitals are purposefully causing these issues, the fact is that it is lucrative for hospitals to continue to make errors.

Researchers believe that one solution for reducing medical errors is for insurance companies to stop paying for the additional care and make the hospital foot the cost. Instead, the extra money should go to paying doctors and medical centers for outstanding care, creating an incentive to improve patient care.

People who undergo surgeries and experience preventable complications due to medical errors may end up paying more for their healthcare and losing money due to lost time at work. For this reason, someone in this situation may want to speak with an attorney. An attorney could help an individual understand what his or her legal rights are and if he or she is owed compensation.

Source: New York Times, “Hospitals Profit From Surgical Errors, Study Finds,” Denise Grady, April 16, 2013

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