The Legal Examiner Affiliate Network The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner search instagram avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner
Skip to main content

It seems crazy , but according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hospitals profit more from surgical complications than treatments without complications. Therefore, hospitals do not have a financial incentive to improve patient safety.

The report entitled: Relationship Between Occurrence of Surgical Complications and Hospital Finances

The conclusion:

In this hospital system, the occurrence of post surgical complications was associated with higher per-encounter hospital contribution margin for patients covered by Medicare and private insurance, but lower contribution margin for patients covered by Medicaid and self payment. Depending on payer mix, some hospitals have the potential for adverse near-term financial consequences for decreasing post surgical complications.

I have written about the financial advantages of defensive medicine before:

Time for Doctors to Stop Taking the Flair Flop, Mike Bryant | April 20, 2012 9:49 AM

Defensive Medicine: There Is Someone On The Defense All Right, Mike Bryant | November 21, 2009 5:07 PM

However, to look at the practical evidence, bad results lead to longer stays, usually more procedures, and increased care. So financially, it would benefit the hospital to have more ways to bill patients.

This is a very troubling study and should be reviewed from every angle. The health insurance companies should look at what they are paying for, the hospitals should open the books and show the benefits of bad care, and everything should be done to protect the consumer.


  1. Gravatar for jc

    Another Mike Bryant hack job! Mike seems to think that we docs try and have complications so that we can pad our pockets. The fact of the matter is that the sicker the patient, the more complications you have and the higher possibility of a bad outcome! If I treated young relatively healthy patients all day, I would have good outcomes most all the time. If I treated really sick older obese patients, my complication rates would go up and the patients would have less successful outcomes.

  2. Mike Bryant

    Dr Cox, must be drinking and trolling again tonight. All of your gibberish has nothing to do with the point of the post. Better if you stayed silent and moved along.

    So did you go talk to the family yet? No need to comment, until you do.

Comments for this article are closed.