If the federal administration is serious about reducing the number of serious medical errors occurring in hospitals, it might want to make these errors less lucrative for hospitals. According to a new study, many hospitals do not have enough incentive to reduce the number of errors in their facilities, simply because they are compensated very handsomely by the insurers for these errors.
Take for instance, a case where a person has been severely injured as a result of the surgical error, and undergoes another surgery to fix the problem. In such cases, the hospital will be additionally reimbursed by the insurer.
The results of the study were published recently in The Journal of the American Medical Association, and are based on an analysis of records involving the 34,256 patients who underwent surgery in 2010. Out of these patients, 1,820 developed preventable complications, like pneumonia. The average hospital stay for these patients increased by 14 days, and the hospital revenue averaged an increase of $30,500 more than, for those patients who had not suffered any complication.
In the case of persons without preventable complications, the average hospital revenue was about $18,900, while in the case of patients with complications, the revenue was approximately $49,400. Private insurers ended up paying hospitals much more for the surgical complications, compared to Medicare or Medicaid or patients who paid their own medical expenses.
Arizona medical malpractice lawyers do not believe that hospitals purposely make medical errors in order to make more money. But they do believe that if the reimbursement system is changed so that hospitals do not make as much money from medical errors and preventable surgical complications, then they would have an incentive to establish stronger safety protocols to prevent errors.