Every profession is subject to different ethical considerations. In response, professions present code of conduct to their employees to guide their behavior in the organization. Formal ethical training is also held to make the employees aware of different ethical issues. Ethical decision making process enable the workforce to handle every ethical issue and prevents them from making any ethical lapses whatsoever. US healthcare system comprises many branches that offer unique health related services to clients. Furthermore the healthcare is split into a hierarchical setup which starts from nursing to the top physicians.
Each individual related to the US health care has to undergo a lot of training and education before he/she is authorized to discharge any duty. A fundamental part of this coaching involves ethical training which guides the employees ways and means of dealing with different ethical problems. Conflicts faced by the healthcare are of many types. To start with, physicians fail to work as a team with nurses. Sometimes nurses do not understand their roles and discharge their duties improperly. Other kinds of conflicts involve patients. These conflicts can usually become very serious and can even become unlawful in nature. Articulating the Problem
The ethical conflict that arose in my studies involved a doctor and his patient. Jimmy suffered from high fever and he decided to go to a new doctor, Dr. Bill, as his general physician was out of town on vacation. Jimmy reported all his conditions to Dr. Bill. Dr. Bill made some notes and then warned him that he might be in fear of suffering from typhoid (a severe form of fever). Jimmy was very shocked to hear this. The doctor further added that it would be better for Jimmy to remain in hospital care for at least two days before his condition improved. He also asked him to run some tests which would be needed to clearly diagnose his sickness.
When Jimmy heard of the high amount they were charging him, he was highly shocked and left the clinic. Jimmy called his physician up and informed him of the entire issue. Dr. Andrew told him to get a check-up from another doctor who was his friend. Jimmy went there and after the checkup, he received another surprise upon hearing that the fever was not serious and he’d be perfect in two days. He was given some prescription which he was to take. In two days time, Jimmy perfectly recovered from his fever and, by then, realized how Dr. Bill had tried to deceive him into getting the tests and hospital care in order to make more money.
The event is, by all means, shocking and unethical. Dr. Bill and those of his like are ruining the sanctity of the medical profession by converting it into any other business profession. It is certainly not unethical to offer your services and expertise to others in return for money. However, intimidating patients by telling them of symptoms which, in fact, they do not possess is certainly very unethical. This trend is quickly spreading everywhere, especially online. After doing some research, the author found that there are many health care services which are presently being offered online.
Though some of these setups are highly professional in nature and offer very effective services online, the rest are merely scammers. What’s more problematic is that individuals do not know how expert the physician is in his/her respective field. Looked at it this way, we’re all in a big risk whenever we decide to get ourselves checked up from a new doctor. As far as the scammers are concerned, their deceptive marketing campaigns allure the sick and the injured into asking for help. They make false claims that their products will change their lives or make them better.
By the time the poor people find out that they’ve been deceived, it is too late to do anything because such institutions and individuals protect themselves through different legislations of the law. Gathering Data After thorough research and data collection, the author has come up with following important ways of checking the credentials as well as ratings of a physician along with ways of preventing health care frauds. 1. Information about doctor’s experience and training is obtained from his office or local medical society in which the doctor is a member. 2.
There are some state licensing boards that also issue information about disciplinary actions taken against a particular physician. However, it is not very easy to get information from there. 3. American Medical Association’s AMA Physicians Select offers information on training and certification of all the medical and osteopathic physicians who are currently holding a license in the US. However, disciplinary actions are not included with them. 4. American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Certified Doctor Verification Service can also be utilized to check whether the physician is certified by one or the 24 recognized specialty boards.
The service is free of charge. 5. Googling out for more info is also not a bad idea. You will find several options wherein to check the report/credibility of a physician. 6. There are several government sources which may be used to obtain information relating to disciplinary action. Of these, the two most important sources are the National Practitioner Data Bank and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank. 7. Many clinics and hospitals also offer options to check their doctors’ credentials. However, this is not a good idea because hospitals would never reveal that any one of their doctors is of low quality.
Exploring Strategies It is, indeed, very difficult to carve a strategy that would clearly identify and tackle the above situation. Practical issues of these kinds are indeed very different from theoretical knowledge that is offered in books. However, following procedures may help prevent such situations in future. From Profession’s perspective 1. Establishing a federal committee on healthcare fraud prevention, and having it carry out a detailed wipe-out of all such fraudulent institutions and individuals 2. Exercise rigorous ethical training program, stressing the consequences of deceiving and holding the truth in the medical profession
3. Conducting regular external audits on different health care facilities, with an aim to identify the scammers 4. Publicizing and penalizing doctors who conduct such activities From Patient’s Perspective 1. Organizing a wide marketing campaign instructing the individuals to be wary of such scammers 2. Avoiding new doctors 3. Fixing the medical charges offered at various institutions, so the competition is not price-based but quality based. 4. Having another review with another physician if instructed to undergo very expensive treatment. Implementing the Strategy
In order to implement the above discussed strategy, the following needs to be done: 1. Give the event a wide coverage on popular media 2. Create mass-awareness through the media 3. Instruct masses to avoid online health care facilities as much as possible unless they know the physician personally. 4. Write to the American Medical Association and other medical authorities, asking them to address the issue on federal level. 5. Increasing word-of-mouth, and making all such frauds public 6. Conducting nation-wide survey of physicians’ credentials Evaluating the Outcomes Implementing the above strategy would have the following pros and cons:
Pros 1. Efficient and appropriate health care only by physicians who have sound credentials and ratings 2. Lesser frauds and scams in the health care 3. Better opportunities for physicians who’ve worked their way up 4. An overall better impact on the health of US nationals 5. Better medical infrastructure Cons 1. High investment is required to create the mass-awareness 2. It is not possible to identify every physician who is conducting fraud 3. It is difficult to decide whether a physician is diagnosing a patient sincerely or not as different physicians come up with different diagnosis measures
REFERENCES Percival, Thomas. Medical ethics. (pp. 49–57) from http://books. google. com/books? id=yVUEAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=medical+ethics&as_brr=1&ie=ISO-8859-1#PPA52,M1. Walter, Klein (ed). The Story of Bioethics: From seminal works to contemporary explorations Jordan, M. C. (1998). Ethics manual. Fourth edition. American College of Physicians (pp. 23-30) Beauchamp, Tom L. , Childress, James F. (2001). Principles of Biomedical Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press. Margaret A. Burkhardt, Alvita Nathaniel (2007) Ethics and Issues in Contemporary Nursing