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Patient Complications Can Help Hospital's Bottom Line, Study Finds


  11:01:35 am, by MedBen5   , 183 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Patient Complications Can Help Hospital's Bottom Line, Study Finds

Hospitals benefit financially from patient complications after surgery, a new study suggests.

According to the Hill’s Healthwatch Blog, researchers found that hospitals make roughly $30,000 more from patients who suffer at least one complication than they do from patients whose procedures go smoothly. Assuming the added procedures are proven appropriate, private insurers and Medicare cover the costs for longer hospital stays.

“Policy makers talk about pay-for-performance, but instead Medicare and private payers are rewarding hospitals for complications,” said Barry Rosenberg, one of the study’s co-authors. “The U.S. healthcare system is paying for harm.”

The study determined that hospitals’ margins doubled for Medicare patients who experienced complications, and tripled for patients with private coverage

The issue of extended hospital stays is addressed to some degree in the Affordable Care Act, which includes a provision penalizing hospitals for their readmissions with the goal of encouraging more effective care.

“This clearly indicates that health care payment reform is necessary. Hospitals should financially gain – not lose – by reducing harm,” said Atul Gawande, a professor at Harvard University and a high-profile expert on health care costs.

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