Dr. Weeks’ Comment: With the advent of 3rd party payment for medical services, the patient became increasingly less able to hold the doctor accountable for quality of care. One of the tenants of Corrective Medicine and Psychiatry is that the doctor serves the patient and only the patient – there is no conflict of interest wherein the doctor works ON the patent but FOR the payer – rendering the 3rd party (corporate or insurance or government) as the real interested party and the patient just a means towards the end of corporate medicine. Here below, to remind us, is a shameful example of 3rd party reimbursement gone wrong. But there are many more. In fact, it is the standard of care to bill dishonestly… Buyer beware and always ask for an ITEMIZED BILL.
I was reading this article in the New York Times today —
— and I started thinking about how much greed is too much.
At some point, greed becomes not just an obstacle to containing medical costs, it becomes a threat to the entire social order.
Things like this make me thing we might have reached, or passed, that point:
Patricia Kaufman’s bills after a recent back operation at a Long Island hospital were rife with such charges, said her husband, Alan, who spent days sorting them out. Two plastic surgeons billed more than $250,000 to sew up the incision, a task done by a resident during previous operations for Ms. Kaufman’s chronic neurological condition.
Have our consciences become unshockable?
I think most people recognize there’s a conflict between profit motive and health care. But for some hospitals and doctors, the conflict is apparently over — they have chosen profit above all else. Doctors and hospitals have chosen to systematically take advantage of people at the precise moment when they are maximally vulnerable:
a patient may be lying on a gurney in the emergency room or in a hospital bed, unaware that all of the people in white coats or scrubs who turn up at the bedside will charge for their services. At times, a fully trained physician is called in when a resident or a nurse, who would not charge, would have sufficed. Services that were once included in the daily hospital rate are now often provided by contractors, and even many emergency rooms are staffed by out-of-network physicians who bill separately.
I am utterly and completely disgusted. I wish I had more to say, but I don’t; I am literally dumbfounded.