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How Hospitals Profit from Mistakes

Written by Ankin Law Office

The recent health care scandal at Sacred Heart Hospital on Chicago’s west side is calling attention to a hidden dark side of the medical industry – specifically, when doctors and hospitals profit from their own mistakes and misconduct.

Last month, Sacred Heart’s owner, one of its key executives, and five of its doctors were charged with orchestrating a massive Medicare scam in which doctors performed unnecessary medical procedures, including unnecessary tracheotomies, in order to bill Medicare for such procedures.

Not only are many medical tests and procedures that doctors perform unnecessary, thereby putting patients’ health at risk, but many times the doctors and hospitals benefit from the unnecessary treatment and medical mistakes.

According to a Chicago Tribune article, a new study reveals that hospitals actually make money from their own medical mistakes because insurers – including Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies – pay the hospitals for the longer stays and extra care that patients need to treat preventable surgical complications.

The study, which was based on a detailed analysis of the records of 34,256 people who had surgery in 2010 at one of 12 hospitals run by Texas Health Resources, showed that of those patients, 1,820 had one or more complications that could have been prevented, which quadrupled the length of their median hospital stay to 14 days and increased hospital revenue by $30,500 on average.

As we recently reported, unnecessary medical tests and procedures can result in additional costs and medical risks by exposing patients to radiation and additional unnecessary medical procedures. Last month, several doctors and high level executives at Chicago’s Sacred Heart Hospital were arrested in connection with a massive Medicare fraud scam that involved allegations of unnecessary medical procedures, including unnecessary tracheotomies that exposed patients to additional risks and further delayed the patient’s recovery. In fact, the owner of Sacred Heart Hospital is recorded saying that tracheotomies are the hospital’s “biggest moneymaker” and that the hospital can make $160,000 for a tracheotomy if the patient stays for at least 27 days.

If you have received an unnecessary medical test or procedure, you may want to consult with a medical malpractice attorney like the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC. Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule your free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Illinois unnecessary medical treatment lawyers.

Categories: Medical Malpractice