NCPA: Cost of Adverse Events Equates to 45% of Healthcare Spending

The cost of death and injury from medical errors and other adverse events caused by the healthcare system itself is enormous, according to a new study by the National Center For Policy Analysis.

NCPA's research was published in the April issue of Health Affairs. The study estimates the economic cost of mortality and injury from adverse events to be $393 billion-$958 billion. These amounts represent 18-45 percent of total U.S. healthcare spending in 2006.

"Every time the health care system spends a dollar trying to heal us, it causes as much as 45 cents worth of harm," said NCPA President and co-author John C. Goodman. Study findings also show patients who enter the hospital have a one in 20 chance of getting a hospital-caused infection or other adverse event.

Authors of the study suggest eliminating the malpractice system and instead offering patients voluntary, no-fault insurance. "Using the money we now spend on the malpractice system, compensation for death could be set at $200,000 and $20,000 for an injury, depending on severity. This type of compensation system would give hospitals and providers economic incentives to reduce error rates," authors said.

Read the news release about healthcare spending on adverse events.

Read other coverage about hospital quality:

- Montana Patient Safety Act Awaits Governor's Signature

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Study: Physicians Recommend Treatments They Would Not Choose for Themselves

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FDA Approves Respirator That Protects Against MRSA, Other Infections

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