Reducing Patient Care Costs Should Not Come at the Expense of Patient Safety, Michigan Attorney Says

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Michigan medical malpractice attorney Thomas Stroble of The Stroble Law Firm, P.C., says hospital cutbacks are OK as long as the patient benefits more than the hospitals themselves.

Health care is a trillion-dollar industry in the U.S., so any effort to cut costs is a welcome one. However, hospitals must be careful not to go overboard.

Southeast Michigan hospitals have taken active steps in recent years to reduce patient care costs, according to a recent article in Crain’s Detroit Business.

But they need to be careful not to cut so much that patients don’t receive the quality care they deserve, Bloomfield Hills medical malpractice attorney Thomas Stroble cautioned today.

The cost-cutting methods used by 10 southeast Michigan hospitals were evaluated by Crain’s by looking at the average patient-care costs per discharge. Employee layoffs, hiring freezes and shortening patient stays in hospitals were among the measures area hospitals had taken.

“Health care is a trillion-dollar industry in the U.S., so any effort to cut costs is a welcome one,” said Stroble, whose Oakland County personal injury law firm handles complex hospital negligence claims for patients in Bloomfield Hills and throughout Michigan.

“However, hospitals must be careful not to go overboard,” he said. “Understaffing, for example, has been frequently seen as a contributing factor in medical malpractice claims. The added strain on medical staff tasked with supervising too many patients can be a breeding ground for medical errors.”

On a positive note, Crain’s found that Michigan hospitals are more efficient than hospitals in 25 other states. Nationwide, hospital expenses generally have increased by as much as 10 percent in recent years, whereas Michigan hospitals have kept the increase below five percent.

The Crain’s study also found that some hospitals fared better than others when cutting patient care costs. The hospitals with the best cost-reduction rates included Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, with an 11.1 percent decrease, and St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, with an 8.6 percent decline.

However, Henry Ford Hospital had a 7.1 percent increase in costs, which was attributed to the cost of opening a $360 million hospital in West Bloomfield Township.

“There’s an example of where an overall increase in patient-care costs could have long-term benefits for patients,” said Stroble. “A new hospital has the potential to increase efficiency and draw in more physicians to help reduce patient overload. That, in turn, could lead to a decrease in medical errors, infection rates and – hopefully – medical malpractice claims.”

There is no shortage of ways that Michigan patients have suffered from medical negligence, Stroble said. Negligence can appear in virtually every specialization, including:

  •     Surgical malpractice
  •     Medication errors
  •     Bacterial infections
  •     Birth injury
  •     Dental malpractice
  •     Diagnostic error
  •     Wrong-site surgery
  •     Gastric bypass errors
  •     Plastic surgery malpractice
  •     Emergency room errors
  •     Nursing home neglect.

“It’s disheartening to see the number of families who come to our attorneys after watching a loved one suffer from preventable medical errors and negligent care,” said Stroble. “Fortunately, they are able to take legal action against the physician, hospital or other healthcare practitioner who caused their injuries.”

A successful verdict or settlement may not be able to heal the long-term medical challenges a person might face after falling victim to medical malpractice, but it can help families obtain compensation to alleviate existing financial hardships and ones that can be anticipated in the future, the Bloomfield Hills attorney explained.

About The Stroble Law Firm, P.C.

The Stroble Law Firm, P.C., is a full-service law firm based in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Michigan, including Macomb County, Oakland County, Warren, Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores, Mount Clemens, Utica, Roseville, Troy, Farmington Hills, Waterford, Southfield, Pontiac, Birmingham, Rochester Hills, West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills. The firm’s personal injury practice areas also include truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, birth injuries, slips and falls, dog bites and wrongful death cases. To learn more about The Stroble Law Firm, P.C., call (248) 454-0800 or (888) 454-0801 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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