Doctors as Stewards, is that News?

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a socialist country, or perhaps I am actually from a different planet, but an article in today’s New York Times left me scratching my head.

The article describes how some doctors and medical groups are quietly beginning to consider the cost of treatments they provide or recommend, for instance going with a $50 injection instead of a $2,000 one that is only slightly better.

Honestly, I thought most of us were already doing that…

“We understand that we doctors should be and are stewards of the larger society as well as of the patient in our examination room,” said Dr. Lowell E. Schnipper, the chairman of a task force on value in cancer care at the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

From The New York Times:

Treatment Cost Could Influence Doctors’ Advice:

2 Comments to “Doctors as Stewards, is that News?”

  1. Honestly, these kinds of things make me crazy! It has been my experience over at least the last 30 years that most MDs do not know the price of their treatments (the only ones that do know, have cash only practices.) When I have had occasion to ask them, they often stop stock-still and seem to have a Zen moment, as though they have never ever been asked any such a question ever before!

  2. The cost to the patient is an aspect of the moral duty to the patient. There is no contract to treat the Cost of Healthcare; that being said, there is a virtue to thrift which should be practiced whenever appropriate. Now that medicine is falling into Guidelines-Based-Medicine, the freedom to choose is extinguished.

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