Patient Complications Produce Hospital Profits


In my April 8, 2013, blog post Amorality Of Institutions – An Additional Argument For Physician Control Of Hospitals, I argued that hospitals, as institutions, are at best amoral. At the same time, they are driven by profit and their executives bear no true downside risk, no risk of going negative in terms of personal liability. Those points, I posit, support the fact that physicians should run hospitals.

And now, more recently, comes a Wall Street Journal article (Treatment Woes Can Bolster Profits, April 17, 2013) revealing that the campaign to battle hospital complications is being slowed by the fact that hospitals profit from patient complications. On top of that, it costs hospitals significant money to reduce complications.

So what we have are institutions that avoid doing the right thing because it will cost them money out of pocket to achieve a result that will cost them far more in prospective profits.

Obviously, what’s needed is a counter-weight. I suggested two in my April 8, 2013, post: Make hospital executives and administrators personally liable for their decisions. Shift control of healthcare to physicians, putting hospitals back into the position they occupied when hospitals first came into being.

What do you think?

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