Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Just Because Everyone Else is Doing it?

Thanks to Dr. Wes for his comment regarding the new kickback racket known as Let me see if I've got this straight, though:
Dude! Kickbacks are currently rampant in the finest great medical centers in the country. One only needs to look at how many have arrangements with medical device companies who give kickbacks for volume concessions (yet charge full price to patients) or how many use only the devices invented by their program directors?

And advertising? Should we ignore the transgressions of TV stations that fail to mention that stories about "breakthough" treatments at our finest medical centers were paid for, of course, by those medical centers?

To think that there is not a subterrainian undercurrent of backroom deals far more pernicious than this web-based "kickback" advertising scheme [] is naive.
So just because other people are doing it -- far more egregiously, perhaps -- it means this is ok? Last time I looked, wrong was wrong (it being considered wrong to "kick back" a part of one's fee for a referral, as in paying for patients) regardless of whether or not "everyone else is doing it." I wouldn't accept that as a justification for underage drinking from my kids. Why is this any different?

All they have to do is change how they finance the site; charge physicians and providers a flat fee instead of per appointment, and all my objections disappear like strep throat on amoxicillin.


At Thu Feb 14, 09:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just to clarify, the kickbacks are reduced price of devices to the hospital (they are not going to the health care providers) for volume purchasing. the patients are not paying for it directly, their insurance companies are. the insurance companies negotiated volume discounts on paying the hospital in the first place based on volume. the hospitals receive a fixed payment based on diagnosis (drg) from insurers.
honestly, i think this type of "kickack" falls under the scope of private business transaction. there is no requirement to pass on savings achieved through better business practices-and these as you know are frequently used to subsidize other areas of care that don't get reimbursed at their cost even. as a business owner, i would not want other businesses competing with me to know what i negotiated.

At Fri Feb 15, 12:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think TV stations should be required to disclose when a news "story" has been provided by and paid for by a medical center or drug company. They should also disclose how old the information is. I have noticed many news stories contain old information.

Although it is probably better that a news story on a medical topic be written by someone with a medical background. For example the recent story about deaths from botox. The photo showed botox injections for wrinkles. The deaths reported were of children with CP.


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