Contents tagged with advance directive

  • Money & Medicine: Reflections on the message

    Tags: pbs, health care reform, advance directive, end-of-life, care, money, medicine

    We have known for years that the payment system for health care services provides incentives for hospitals and physicians to run more tests and perform more procedures. Debuting this week, a PBS special “Money & Medicine” examines not only runaway health care spending, but also the danger patients face from over-diagnosis and over-treatment.

    “If you add up medical errors, drug interactions, and hospital-acquired infections, medicine itself is the third leading cause of death in this country,” one expert says in the film. And another, “I’m paid more when I harm my patients; I’m paid more when I do more, even when it’s not beneficial.”

    Contributing to the estimated 30 percent of U.S. health care spending—$800 billion a year—that pays for unnecessary services, the filmmakers identify several forces at play. First, briefly, the providers:  “One person’s waste is nearly always another person’s income, and income turns into strong political defenses of areas that are classic waste.” Next, the patients: Patients’ demands are changing the behavior of providers. And particularly in end-of-life care, the family can demand “full court” care regardless of the odds.