Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Physicians turning away patients who need them the most

OB/GYN's concerned with high costs and law suits are turning away obese patients:  Students will recognize this as a form of screening, a solution to the problem of adverse selection.
"People don't realize the risk we're taking by taking care of these patients," the newspaper quoted Dr. Albert Triana of South Miami as saying. "There's more risk of something going wrong and more risk of getting sued. Everything is more complicated with an obese patient in GYN surgeries and in [pregnancies]," he told the newspaper.

It is not illegal for doctors to refuse overweight patients, but it has medical ethicists worried. So far, the weight cutoffs have been enacted only by South Florida ob-gyns, who have long complained about high numbers of lawsuits after difficult births and high rates for medical-malpractice insurance.

Obviously, they decided not to charge a higher price. It may be that the government (CMS) has effectively set a uniform price.

1 comment:

  1. Plastic (cosmetic, not reconstructive) surgeons and bariatric surgeons have, for several years, used the screening technique of psychological evaluation prior to clearing patients for surgery; in fact, it is considered the standard of care to do so. However, screening by refusing to accept patients with co-morbidities seems to be an ethical slippery slope. It may be obesity today, high blood pressure tomorrow, etc., until only the 'perfect' patients can receive care.