According to frightening health news reports, surgery centers across the country are cutting costs in order to boost their profits, which is leaving an increasing number of patients at risk of becoming victims of medical malpractice.

Surgery centers are sometimes preferred by patients over hospitals because they offer patients faster and cheaper medical services closer to home. However, patients are being put at risk, mostly unknowingly, because they choose this setting under the assumption that they are receiving the same standard of care as in a hospital.

Surgery centers differ from hospitals because they are licensed as non-hospital facilities, and as such the rules and regulations may not be as stringent as in a hospital setting, threatening patient well being and safety. USA Today and Kaiser Health investigations show that 260 patients died in surgery centers around the country since 2013, including children as young as two years old.

The investigations included interviewing doctors, patients and health experts at surgical centers, examining legal documents, autopsy records and Medicare records.

The results of the investigation were worrisome showing trends of overbooking patients, using old or sub standard equipment, not investing in training staff, paying lower wages resulting in less qualified staff, and releasing patients too soon for the purpose of increasing profits. In the approximately 5,600 surgery centers across the country, doctors have the potential to earn more profits than in a regular hospital setting because they can still charge their normal fees for services, but can more easily increase their profits by cutting operational costs and expenses.

The risk to patient safety at surgery centers is a growing concern in America according to Ankin Law Office LLC ever since federal regulators at Medicare began allowing more complex surgeries to be performed in surgery centers instead of in hospitals. People living far from urban areas are more at risk because it is this population that generally uses surgery centers, as the closest hospital may be miles away. While Medicare does insist that the surgery center is linked up with a hospital, in the event of an emergency situation, the distance to the hospital is sometimes too far that by the time the patient arrives at the hospital, it is already too late.