Flawed Health Care System Causes Doctors to “Bend” Ethical Norms to Best Serve Their Patients
New York, NY - A survey among rheumatologists finds many face moral dilemmas when trying to do what’s best for their patients in the current health care environment.
The study, titled “Bending’ Ethical Norms to Serve Patients’ Interests: Tensions in Medical Professionalism,” was presented at the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals Annual Meeting on October 28 in San Diego.
The complete study was published in the October issue of the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.
Despite the benefits of early treatment and effective therapies, access to rheumatologic services may be difficult, involving long wait times, even difficulties finding providers, according to C. Ronald MacKenzie, MD, a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and lead author of the study.
“When people receive a diagnosis, the cost of effective treatment may render it unaffordable for many,” says Dr. MacKenzie, who is also chair of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Ethics and Conflicts of Interest Committee. “While an optimal or fair system would mitigate these impediments to care, our survey of ACR members suggests that this is often not the case. In fact, physicians report they frequently find themselves in situations of ethical conflict in an effort to best serve their patients.”
To conduct the survey, 14 closed-ended and two open-ended questions were sent electronically to 5,500 members of the American College of Rheumatology in the United States. Continue>
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