To tell the truth: disclosing the incentives and limits of managed care.
As managed care becomes more prevalent in the United States, concerns have arisen over the business practices of managed care companies. A particular concern is whether patients should be made aware of the financial incentives and treatment limits of their healthcare plan. At present, managed care organizations are not legally required to make such disclosures. However, such disclosures would be advisable for reasons of ethical fidelity, contractual clarity, and practical prudence. Physicians themselves may also have a fiduciary responsibility to discuss incentives and limits with their patients. Once the decision to disclose has been made, the managed care organization must draft a document that explains, clearly and honestly, limits of care in the plan and physician incentives that might restrict the care a patient receives. (+info)
Physicians' perceptions of managed care.
We wished to determine physicians' views and knowledge of managed care, particularly their beliefs about the provisions of managed care contracts in terms of legality and ethics. A questionnaire was sent to the 315 physicians of the medical staff of Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut regarding managed care and managed care contracts. Sixty-six responses were received within a 45-day period (20.9% return). Although only 1 of 11 contract provisions presented in one section of the questionnaire was illegal in Connecticut, a majority of physicians believed 7 of the 11 were illegal. On average, 50% of physicians polled thought each of the provisions was illegal, and a varying majority of physicians (53% to 95.4%) felt the various provisions were unethical. The majority of respondents (84.8% to 92.4%) believed that nondisclosure provisions were unethical. Ninety-seven percent thought managed care interferes with quality of care, and 72.7% of physicians felt that the managed care industry should be held legally responsible for ensuring quality of care. However, 92.4% of physicians considered themselves to be ethically responsible for ensuring quality of care. Physicians have a poor understanding of the legal aspects of managed care contracts but feel strongly that many provisions of these contracts are unethical. Physicians also believe that managed care is causing medicine to be practiced in a manner that is contrary to patients' interests and that legal recourse is needed to prevent this. (+info)
Factors associated with refusal to treat HIV-infected patients: the results of a national survey of dentists in Canada.
OBJECTIVES: This study investigated dentists refusal to treat patients who have HIV. METHODS: A survey was mailed to a random sample of all licensed dentists in Canada, with 3 follow-up attempts (n = 6444). Data were weighted to allow for probability of selection and nonresponse and analyzed with Pearson's chi 2 and multiple logistic regression. RESULTS: The response rate was 66%. Of the respondents, 32% had knowingly treated HIV-infected patients in the last year; 16% would refuse to treat HIV-infected patients. Respondents reported willingness to treat HIV-infected patients (81%), injection drug users (86%), hepatitis B virus-infected patients (87%), homosexual and bisexual persons (94%), individuals with sexually transmitted disease(s) (94%), and recipients of blood and blood products (97%). The best predictors of refusal to treat patients with HIV were lack of ethical responsibility (odds ratio = 9.0) and items related to fear of cross-infection or lack of knowledge of HIV. CONCLUSIONS: One in 6 dentists reported refusal to treat HIV-infected patients, which was associated primarily with respondents' lack of belief in an ethical responsibility to treat patients with HIV and fears related to cross-infection. These results have implications for undergraduate, postgraduate, and continuing education. (+info)
Should we clone human beings? Cloning as a source of tissue for transplantation.
The most publicly justifiable application of human cloning, if there is one at all, is to provide self-compatible cells or tissues for medical use, especially transplantation. Some have argued that this raises no new ethical issues above those raised by any form of embryo experimentation. I argue that this research is less morally problematic than other embryo research. Indeed, it is not merely morally permissible but morally required that we employ cloning to produce embryos or fetuses for the sake of providing cells, tissues or even organs for therapy, followed by abortion of the embryo or fetus. (+info)
Beware! Preimplantation genetic diagnosis may solve some old problems but it also raises new ones.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PIGD) goes some way to meeting the clinical, psychological and ethical problems of antenatal testing. We should guard, however, against the assumption that PIGD is the answer to all our problems. It also presents some new problems and leaves some old problems untouched. This paper will provide an overview of how PIGD meets some of the old problems but will concentrate on two new challenges for ethics (and, indeed, law). First we look at whether we should always suppose that it is wrong for a clinician to implant a genetically abnormal zygote. The second concern is particularly important in the UK. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990) gives clinicians a statutory obligation to consider the interests of the future children they help to create using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques. Does this mean that because PIGD is based on IVF techniques the balance of power for determining the best interests of the future child shifts from the mother to the clinician? (+info)
Should doctors intentionally do less than the best?
The papers of Burley and Harris, and Draper and Chadwick, in this issue, raise a problem: what should doctors do when patients request an option which is not the best available? This commentary argues that doctors have a duty to offer that option which will result in the individual affected by that choice enjoying the highest level of wellbeing. Doctors can deviate from this duty and submaximise--bring about an outcome that is less than the best--only if there are good reasons to do so. The desire to have a child which is genetically related provides little, if any, reason to submaximise. The implication for cloning, preimplantation diagnosis and embryo transfer is that doctors should only produce a clone or transfer embryos expected to enjoy a level of wellbeing which is less than that enjoyed by other children the couple could have, if there is a good reason to employ that technology. This paper sketches what might constitute a good reason to submaximise. (+info)
Genetic privacy: orthodoxy or oxymoron?
In this paper we question whether the concept of "genetic privacy" is a contradiction in terms. And, if so, whether the implications of such a conclusion, inevitably impact on how society comes to perceive privacy and responsibility generally. Current law and ethical discourse place a high value on self-determination and the rights of individuals. In the medical sphere, the recognition of patient "rights" has resulted in health professionals being given clear duties of candour and frankness. Dilemmas arise, however, when patients decline to know relevant information or, knowing it, refuse to share it with others who may also need to know. This paper considers the notions of interconnectedness and responsibility to others which are brought to the fore in the genetic sphere and which challenge the primacy afforded to personal autonomy. It also explores the extent to which an individual's perceived moral obligations can or should be enforced. (+info)
Prenatal diagnosis and discrimination against the disabled.
Two versions of the argument that prenatal diagnosis discriminates against the disabled are distinguished and analysed. Both are shown to be inadequate, but some valid concerns about the social effects of prenatal diagnosis are highlighted. (+info)