Friday, July 24, 2009

We All Pay for Defensive Medicine

I have witnessed the explosive growth of defensive medicine during my 34 years as a primary-care physician in private practice.

Nowadays the standard of care for a visit to a cardiologist is an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram, a nuclear stress test and a 64-slice CT coronary angiogram, all done on the practice’s own equipment so that it can capture every possible cent of the revenue. Oh, did I mention, a cursory history and physical? Meanwhile, a visit to the emergency room for any complaint requires at least one CT scan of the affected part of the body.

Are the patient outcomes any better? Not really. Are the costs much higher? Of course, by an astronomical factor.

However, I am not blameless either. Since I was sued (unsuccessfully) in 1995, I have doubled and tripled the number of tests and consultations that I order, and I haven’t been sued since then. A scalded cat won’t sit on a cold stove either.

Dennis H. Murphree, M.D.

San Antonio

No comments:

Post a Comment