Study shows "Perverse" relationship between Hospital Safety and Hospital Profits
According to Becker's Clinical Quality and Infection Control journal, "Central line-associated bloodstream infections may increase a hospital's margins, creating a disincentive to reduce these infections, according to a study in American Journal of Medical Quality. Researchers compared the costs, reimbursements and margins for one Hawaii hospital and its payers for intensive care unit patients who developed a CLABSI with patients who did not develop a CLABSI. Here are the findings for the study period — January 2009 to December 2011:
• The average hospital cost was $222,692 for CLABSI patients compared with $80,144 for the matched controls.
• The average reimbursement was $259,433 for CLABSI patients compared with $72,543 for the matched controls.
• The average margin was $54,906 for CLABSI patients compared with $6,506 for the matched controls.
While reducing CLABSIs would reduce hospitals' costs, it would also decrease their margins, "which creates a perverse incentive to have more line infections," the authors state. "An optimal reimbursement system must reward hospitals and payers for preventing harm rather than treating illness.""