“Clearly, financial gain influences these centers,” said Dr. Takashima. “I see many patients who have had their snoring reduced at these outpatient clinics; however, they have not had their obstructive sleep apnea adequately addressed. I’ve seen patients with allergic symptoms and/or the common cold who have had all their sinuses ballooned. The physician has a fiduciary duty to their patients to diagnose and treat them in the best way possible, regardless of the discrepancies in reimbursement. This is the ideal that we hope to impart to our residents in our training program.”
Explore This IssueSeptember 2015
Dr. Park believes the best way to advocate for patients is to speak up if you believe service integrity may be compromised. “Probably the single best way to stand up for patients is to be ambassadors for a common mission toward patient safety,” he explained. “This may mean speaking out during medical staff meetings, broaching uncomfortable subjects with patients, and practicing ‘soft rules,’ such as never operating on the first visit. Most surgeons feel that we have a committed, lasting relationship with our patients; there’s a tremendous mutual investment before the trip to the operating room.”
“Business models certainly do need to be looked at within the lens of patients’ best interests,” added Dr. Brissett. “All otolaryngologists should ask themselves if every treatment will enhance patient care and improve outcomes.”
Amy E. Hamaker is a freelance medical writer based in California.