Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Hospitals profiting off of medical errors

A couple of studies raise concerns that medical providers may not have the financial incentives to improve safety at their facilities. A recent Pennsylvania study indicated that the number of adverse events that led to patient industry were extremely widespread. Also, a Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) study found that hospitals actually may have a higher profit margin due to surgeries that resulted in extra complications because hospitals were reimbursed more by insurance companies and Medicare for these procedures because extra care is required.

The JAMA study estimated that hospitals on average received $30,500 more for surgeries that resulted in medical risks for the patient. This led to one of the study's author concluding that medical providers may be paid more for quantity of care rather than for the quality of the care.

To be fair, it's not likely that doctors are deliberately placing patients at risk by committing surgical errors. So long as there are medical malpractice lawsuits in place, it's likely that hospitals will face significant financial penalties for any surgical errors that are litigated in court. However, it may also still create no incentives for hospitals to implement changes that will allow for more patient safety.

Experienced medical malpractice attorneys understand that medical malpractice is about much more than mistakes made in the operating room. It can be about simple things such as demonstrating that injury could have been avoided if certain practices had been followed by the medical staff.

Most hospitals have not implemented billing practices that would place quality above quantity. Until that happens, we will likely continue to see a large number of medical malpractice lawsuits.

Source: HER Intelligence, "Cash over quality: Medicare pays 190 percent more for faulty surgeries," by Jennifer Bresnick, April 17, 2013

  • Learn more about surgery errors and other sorts of medical negligence at our Pittsburgh attorneys' website.

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