U.S. hospitals found more profit in complications in surgery

Surgery with complications could give more profit to U.S. hospitals
Surgery with complications could give more profit to U.S. hospitals

Main Point:

Researchers found that the U.S. hospitals get more profit when the surgery goes wrong as compared to the condition when all the tasks go well and patients go home without any complications.


The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

Study Further:

Quite disturbing report but one of the points to consider in healthcare system is that the finances spent on that industry have to be properly planned.

Do you know nearly $400 billion is spent on the surgical procedures annually, in U.S. only?

For the past few years, effective methods and ways to cut the complications have been introduced in so many researches but hospitals were found slow in getting and implementing those ways. Now researchers have found that finances could be one of the reasons.

“We found clear evidence that reducing harm and improving quality is perversely penalized in our current health care system,” Sunil Eappen, study author and chief medical officer of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, said in a statement.

Researchers found that privately insured surgical patients with complications provided hospitals nearly 330% more profit as compared to the patients with no complications. Medicare patients with some complications provided more than 190% margin.

“It’s been known that hospitals are not rewarded for quality. But it hadn’t been recognized exactly how much more money they make when harm is done,” said senior author Atul Gawande, director of Ariadne Labs, professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at HSPH and a surgeon at BWH.

It means reducing complications decreases financial achievements of the hospitals.

“This is clear indication that health care payment reform is necessary,” said Gawande. “Hospitals should gain, not lose, financially from reducing harm.”

I think we have to study the same thing in other developed countries.


Harvard University, The Raw Story

Further Reading:

Eappen, S. (2013). Relationship Between Occurrence of Surgical Complications and Hospital Finances JAMA, 309 (15) DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.2773

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is a sort of entrepreneur. He is the author of "Color Atlas of Statistics", and the owner of an Android game "Faily Rocket."