Physicians participating in torture, pervasive conflicts of interest, and hospitals keeping patients healthy at home?
December 11, 2014
In order to bring you more of the news you want to read, RightCare Weekly summarizes and interprets three important articles and provides headlines linking to the many other articles and editorials you’ll find interesting. As always, RightCare Weekly presents articles related to moving our healthcare system toward the right care for all patients.
Join the conversation: Post your comments in our new section at the bottom of this page.
In this week’s U.S. Senate report on torture carried out by the CIA after 9/11, it’s clear that medical professionals played an important role in enabling the abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. Read perspectives on the report from Atul Gawande, Ranit Mishori, and Physicians for Human Rights.
Articles in the New York Times and Wall Street Journalthis week cover the pervasive conflicts of interest within medicine. The Times focuses on payments to physicians who prescribe Lucentis for macular degeneration over the much cheaper Avastin. (Other recent stories have covered how it’s far more lucrative for ophthalmologists to prescribe Lucentis than Avastin, even though several trials say the drugs are basically equivalent.) In addition to the larger commissions that physicians can make by using the more expensive drug, many of the top prescribers of Lucentis are paid thousands of dollars by Genentech, the maker of Lucentis, which is engaged in a vast promotional campaign for the drug. The payments are for speaking fees,The Journal story covers the extremely common practice of physicians with conflicts of interest serving on FDA advisory panels for medical devices. The agency uses an exceedingly narrow definition of what kinds of payments from device makers can create conflicts of interest. So most of the time, panel members’ financial interests in device companies aren’t even disclosed.
In an op-ed on Monday in USA Today, Robert Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, credits our nation’s hospitals with implementing innovative ways to keep patients healthy, rather than treating them when they’re sick. Hospitals are concentrating on more care coordination, boosting wellness and preventive services, at the same time that they are utilizing best practices, data and evidence-based medicine, he said. The result of these efforts: Readmissions for Medicare patients are down and hospital spending growth has slowed. “To restore the nation’s fiscal health—without sacrificing its personal health—hospitals are working collaboratively with their communities to ensure that fewer patients walk through their doors,” he concluded.
QUESTION:What do you think? Are hospitals playing a significant role in advancing good health in our communities? Let us know what you think in our comments section below.
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