Thursday, 19 of October of 2017

Study Reveals Hospitals Stand To Profit Following Medical Complications

By Randy Appleton, VA/NC Medical Malpractice Attorney

What Happened:

A recently published study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that doctors and hospitals stand to benefit when surgeries go awry. The results showed that medical providers stand to make substantially more money in cases where surgical complications have arisen than in those cases that go as planned. The authors of the piece, all doctors from Harvard Medical School, found that surgical complications increase a typical procedure’s average contribution margin by 330 percent for privately insured individuals and 190 percent for Medicare patients.

The data was collected by combing through records for more than 35,000 surgeries that were conducted at a major hospital in the Dallas area. The results of the surgeries were then linked to hospital bills and the results surprised even the study’s authors. A typical surgery with a privately insured patient yields a profit of slightly less than $17,000. If a surgical complication were to occur, the profit margin would jump to $56,000. For Medicare patients, profits in routine surgeries average $1,900 and jump to $3,300 in the event of a complication.

The authors of the study first got the idea to explore the issue after puzzling over why some hospitals were so reluctant to implement even small changes that had been shown to lead to large reductions in medical errors. The authors wondered whether money might play a role in the decision-making process and were dismayed to find such a powerful connection between profits and patient harm.

The study concluded that the insurance payment system in the country is broken; that paying doctors for the number of procedures performed without taking into account the success rate of the operation is a mistake. The authors suggest that to begin incentivizing medical providers to lower complication rates, insurers should tie their payments to surgical success rates. The goal, according to the study’s authors, is to more effectively tie payment to medical value, ensuring that doctors and hospitals are not rewarded for harming a patient’s health.

The Virginia Injury Attorney’s Perspective: 

Though most surgeons are highly skilled and work hard to do a good job each and every time, mistakes happen that can leave patients seriously injured or even dead. According to statistics from the Institute of Medicine, 98,000 patients die each year due to medical mistakes and costly surgical complications, a far higher figure than should be acceptable.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a surgical error or complication, you should consult with an experienced Virginia (VA) medical malpractice lawyer for this type of medical malpractice lawsuit. Our firm enjoys a reputation of experience and success while representing victims in medical malpractice cases against doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. We approach each case individually to provide the resources, knowledge and experience to achieve success on behalf of our clients. 

Potentially Helpful Info:

If you or a member of your family has been harmed by a Virginia (VA) doctor’s misdiagnosis, mistake or negligence, you can begin to learn about your legal rights and options for seeking compensation by downloading this free report.

Have Questions? Check Out Our Firm’s FAQs.

If you or a loved one has been injured at the hands of a medical professional, chances are you are confused about your options and may not know where to turn for help. To learn more about medical malpractice cases, check out this online library of Virginia (VA) attorneys’ answers to frequently asked questions regarding medical malpractice lawsuits.

Here’s a video explaining some of the common medical errors that can occur during surgery:

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About the Editors: The VA-NC medical malpractice attorneys at Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Favaloro include medical and surgical malpractice lawyers licensed in both Virginia and Carolina. Our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctors’ mistakes, as well as nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see our track record of success in medical malpractice lawsuits, and also be sure to read our free medical malpractice reports Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider and Top 5 Surgical Errors. Attorneys with our firm have been listed among the Best Lawyers in America since 2008. Attorneys with our personal injury law firm have also been named Virginia Super Lawyers since 2010, an honor fewer than 5 percent of practicing attorneys receive.