MASSACHUSETTS: Backlash Puts Hold On MD Fines
Hit by sharp criticisms, the Mount Auburn Cambridge Independent Practice Association Inc. made a "hasty retreat" from a new policy which would impose $250-per-day fines on physicians whose "hospital admissions are deemed 'not medically-necessary,'" the Boston Globe reports. Physicians both within and outside the 350-member IPA have expressed serious concern and outrage, arguing that the policy, which would have been effective Nov. 1, would lead to denials of necessary hospital care. Mount Auburn administrators, who continued to defend the fines as a method for reducing "wasteful medical practices," have decided to review the plan further prior to implementation. A statement from the practice read: "At this point, we are delaying implementation of the policy to give us more time for further discussion and education of our members. We will seek additional reviews of the policy with the various ethics committees with which we work." Dr. Steven Pearson of the Center for Ethics in Managed Care at Harvard Medical School, said, "Having physicians be cost- conscious is certainly something we all want," adding, "But when you get down to individual physicians and individual patients, there would have to be an awful lot of safeguards to prevent [a conflict of interest]" (Pham, 10/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.