Texas Health Resources Surgery Study Shows Hospitals Can Profit From Their Own Mistakes

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Health care is a topic of great concerns for Americans and further research in this field shows the public the sad reality of hospital practices.

According, to The Journal of the American Medical Association “hospitals generate higher operating profit margins from most surgery patients who experience preventable complications than from those who don’t.”

How do hospitals gain any money from surgery patients?

Insurance companies pay hospitals more for hospital stays and longer patient.  All of this post surgery care is for patients that could possibly face surgical complications that could have been prevented.   The study was based on more than 34,000 surgery inpatients during 2010 at the dozen hospitals operated by Arlington-based Texas Health Resources.

Doesn’t this jeopardize the patient’s health?

Mark Lester, a THR physician and one of the co-authors of the study, said of the findings. Surprised at how much margins could increase because of complications, Lester called it a national issue and said THR’s results can be generalized to hospital systems overall.

What are the potentially preventable complication ?

5.3 percent of THR’s surgery patients experienced at least one of 10 potentially preventable complications, ranging from infection to pneumonia, stroke and heart attack.

Are there any programs that could help surgery patients?

In 2011 the THR launched a program called safe surgery to improve communication and outcomes in the operating room.

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Picture by Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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