5 ways hospital fines may impact health care
The sentiment is understandable but fines may negatively impact hospital finances.
11:07 16 May 2013
Hospitals will be taking another look at finances no doubt after word that delays of more than 30 minutes in transitioning patients from ambulance paramedics into the hospitals will result in monetary fines.
What does this latest development mean for hospitals, patients and finances?
- Fines—it appears that at the current rate of visits fines will be inevitable, although it is unclear exactly what a hospital might have to pay on average. The fines will supposedly be put into a fund to help improve the state of healthcare.
- Medical staff—with the creation of fines there will be much more pressure upon hospital staff members to find places for patients, even if there may not be anywhere acceptable to put them.
- Quality—imposing fines has a direct impact on a hospital’s finances which leaves it with fewer resources to make its own improvements, hire more help, and ensure quality care. Instead the focus may become on quantity; processing people rather than treating them. In the long run the quality of care may suffer severe setbacks.
- Medical mistakes—with a hospital trying to watch out for its finances, the pressure is on medical staff to be efficient but it increases the likelihood of mistakes that could have serious consequences, which in turn could result in temporary closure of hospitals.
- Extra costs—since the number of medical mistakes is bound to increase, there may also be a corresponding increasing in lawsuits against the hospitals which impacts their finances in addition to the potential of fines that they may also have to pay for failing to meet the proper timeframe.
While it is laudable that the government wants to take decisive action towards improving the healthcare, the imposition of fines could cause problems with hospital finances and may actually be counter-productive to the ultimate end-goal which is to improve the quality of healthcare.