Privately insured patients with post-surgical complications – infections, surgical errors, generate 2 – 3 times more margin for hospitals than patients without complications.
To be precise, the average surgery with complications generated $39,017 more “contribution margin” than those without errors or complications.
According to the authors, “Depending on payer mix, many hospitals have the potential for adverse near-term financial consequences for decreasing postsurgical complications.” [emphasis added]
The authors – quite clearly – noted that there is no evidence, nor do they believe, that hospitals aren’t focused on eliminating these complications despite the obvious negative financial consequences. And that’s not my point.
The point is this is yet another example of what happens when you pay providers to do things and not on the basis of how well they do them. If you get a lousy meal in a good restaurant, they’ll usually comp it. Bad hotel experience? On the house. Defective car? It’s fixed under lemon laws.
But not health care. If we based payment – at least in part – on the result, we’d likely see much more focus on that result.
What does this mean for you?
Why are you paying providers to fix problems they caused?