Daniel Boone-American Patriot
The Feast Day 3-----Understanding God's Calendar

Why Some Doctors Purposely Misdiagnose Patients

Hundreds of people say a Michigan doctor falsely diagnosed them with epilepsy. He wouldn’t be the first to lie to patients about how sick they are.

JAN HAVICKSZ STEEN / FINE ART IMAGES / HERITAGE IMAGES / GETTY

Cases like Awaad’s are especially fraught because differing diagnoses of the same patient are common in health care; it’s where the term second opinioncomes from. Often, the only way a misdiagnosis is discovered is if a patient has another specialist check a doctor’s work. Even then, it’s not always clear whether a wrong diagnosis was intentional or not. As Louis Saccoccio, the head of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, put it to me, “People rely so much on physicians’ professionalism that when that trust is violated, it’s a tough thing to catch.”

Sparrow speculated that doctors cheat the system because “they believe they won’t get caught, and mostly they don’t get caught.” There’s also the fact that doctors often do know more than their patients about various diseases. Sometimes, fraudulent doctors lord that knowledge over patients who get suspicious. In 2015, Farid Fata was sentenced to 45 years in prison for administering unnecessary chemotherapy to 553 patients. “Several times when I had researched and questioned his treatment, he asked if I had fellowshipped at Sloan Kettering like he had,” one of his patients, Michelle Mannarino, told Healthcare Finance.

The most devious doctors, who will harm their patients to line their pockets, make headlines. But in a way, even honest doctors are incentivized to err on the side of excessive care. Most doctors work on a fee-for-service basis, meaning the more they bill insurance plans, the more they earn. Some states and hospitals are trying to avoid this situation by experimenting with paying doctors a fixed amount. But that, Sparrow said, creates the opposite problem: It means doctors are incentivized to do less. Ideally, in his view, there wouldn’t be incentives either way. “I don’t want a doctor who is richer for treating me more or richer for treating me less,” he said. “I want a doctor who is on a salary.”   Read the entire article here

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