Ability to Pay May Impact Hospital Stays

A new study has found that uninsured patients spend less time in the hospital than insured patients who are hospitalized for the same reason. The study, published in this month’s Annals of Family Medicine, considered whether the difference was because hospitals were keeping insured patients unnecessarily so as to increase their payments or because hospitals were discharging uninsured patients prematurely. They suggest that the evidence collected from 2003 -2007 at for profit, not for profit and government hospitals across the country indicates that uninsured patients are discharged prematurely at a potential medical detriment.

It is important to remember that hospitals and doctors owe a duty of care to every patient they agree to take on and that a patient’s potential inability to pay does not relieve a hospital or a doctor of its duty to avoid Pennsylvania medical malpractice.

Have you been discharged prematurely from a Pennsylvania hospital? Do you think it was because of your insurance or ability to pay? Did you suffer physical harm from your early discharge?