Effective medical care includes an “obligation” to prudently manage healthcare resources, according to the American Medical Association (AMA). According to this article, an AMA report issued last month says that managing healthcare costs “is compatible with physicians’ primary obligation to serve the interests of individual patients,” and that considering the welfare of only the patient currently being treated when making recommendations does “not mesh with the reality of clinical practice.”
Rather, physicians should work with a “variety of limits on care,” such as insurance, the availability of certain services, and the time doctors and nurses have to treat a patient. Doctors should constantly be making decisions with costs in mind, such as deciding whether a patient needs to be seen urgently or routinely, or whether a pregnancy test should be urine or serum. Not only are doctors are expected not to order tests that are medically unnecessary, but they are also expected to provide interventions that will clearly benefit patients.
The AMA report, according to the MedPage article, says that doctors should do the following when making health care recommendations:
- Base their medical recommendations on patients’ medical needs using scientifically grounded evidence.
- Help patients and their families form realistic expectations about whether a particular intervention is likely to achieve those goals.
- Choose the course of action that “requires fewer resources when alternative courses of action offer similar likelihood and degree of anticipated benefit compared to anticipated harm” for that particular patient.
- Be upfront and open about the medical alternatives, including disclosing when a constraint on resources played a role in decision-making.
- Participate in efforts to resolve disagreement if a patient feels a costly intervention is worthwhile, which might include consulting other physicians or an ethics committee.
Above all, physicians are required to provide patients with a certain standard of medical care. Negligent conduct and the failure to adhere to generally accepted medical practices may impose liability on the doctor, nurse or healthcare provider for any injuries or death that occurs as a result of the substandard medical care delivered to the patient. If you or a loved one has suffered from substandard medical care, you have legal rights and remedies. Contact the skilled Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Ankin Law Offices at (312) 600-0000 to learn more about a medical malpractice claim.