Encroachment into Medical Decision-Making

Physicians Organizing Committee Battle Encroachment into Medical Decision-Making – SCV Physician Report – October 14, 2016

War is being waged on behalf of American citizens against the business takeover of hospitals, yet most people don’t realize this battle exists.  Surprisingly, the warriors scattered throughout our country in this fight are doctors.

hospitals have created a shield against criticism using a mantra they are “too important to fail.”  Touting this defense, hospital administrators have self-aggrandized their position and covertly bestowed profits enriching personal salaries, bonuses, and golden parachutes, while the public is left to suffer.

Healthcare in our country is in shambles.  

Public awareness is minimal as local media and politicians have hospital advertisement dollars and campaign funding dangled in their face.

Likewise, regulatory agencies like The Joint Commission, Department of Public Health, Medicare (CMS), and the State Attorney General have succumbed to the “too important to fail” mantra with the proverbial “slap on the hand” punishment. (The same we will see with Wells Fargo, Mylan, and of course, oil companies.)

Doctors are now a profitable commodity
controlled by business who
shape physician decision-making
through monetary influence or threat.

Because of this, very few doctors at our hospital were willing to step forward, so former Chief of Staff Dr. Gregory Jenkins and I reached out for help.

As background:

doctors at all hospitals in California are given the right of self-governance legally separating them from the administration and Board of Directors.  

These laws are specifically made to safeguard the public from unscrupulous business people who might scheme to augment profits while providing cut-rate care.  

Physicians therefore cannot be employed by a hospital preventing manipulation of medical decision-making through threats against salaries, bonuses, raises, and tenure.

But hospitals have lawyers always looking for loopholes, so because they cannot directly hire doctors, they instead appoint them paid hospital positions as directors, sign contracts with medical groups, or provide “loan” money to open and sustain a practice.  

These physicians become subservient to the hospital Board and administration and succumb to the same manipulations self-governance should protect.  Loophole.

The administration-run Palliative Care Committee created a policy allowing non-physicians to consult the team.  

This is a medical decision that should only be made by doctors, as the consequence of this determination may lead to end-of-life hospice care.

Allowing arbitrary medical decision-making forced vulnerable patients out of the hospital, inflating profits.

When someone dies or is severely injured, some of these cases should be investigated.  Originally, the policy directed the physician Chief of Staff to make the determination designating the case a “Sentinel Event” launching an inquiry.  But instead, administrators changed the policy and removed physician authority to make this decision, putting it into the hands of…guess who?…the administration.

Freeing hospitals from accountability when patients die or their lives are put in jeopardy only allows the  problem to perpetuate.  More dangerous in this business world, hospitals have joined Wells Fargo, Mylan, and oil companies in their scandalous attempt to deceive the public.

Warfare must be sustained through proactive doctor groups like the Physicians Organizing Committee, and the rising voices being heard through online blogs.

Healthcare may be in shambles, but doctors and the public need to organize and coalesce in addressing this threat.

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