78% of physicians would provide treatment despite financial penalties; 15% say it depends: 6 key findings

Mary Rechtoris - Print  |

With healthcare's future being largely uncertain, physicians may face various ethical decisions concerning patient care. Medscape polled more than 7,500 physicals spanning more than 25 specialties regarding their ethics in "Medscape Ethics Report 2016: Money, Romance, and Patients."

Here are six findings:

1. Most physicians (78 percent) reported they would not deny or avoid treatment even if facing financial penalties, up from 74 percent in 2014.

2. Fifteen percent of physicians said it depends whether they would deny or avoid treatment if dealing with financial penalties.

3. Seventy-seven percent of providers said they would not upcode or overstate a patient's condition to get treatment covered. Twelve percent of physicians said it depends and 11 percent said they would.

4. While 78 percent of physicians said it's never acceptable to cover up or avoid disclosing a mistake that may harm a patient, 95 percent of physicians said this was unacceptable six years ago.

5. Seventeen percent of responding physicians said they would "cherry-pick" patients to avoid those with comorbid diseases or those who would not follow treatment regimens, while 63 percent said they would not "cherry-pick."

6. The survey found orthopedists and plastic surgeons are the most likely to avoid treating riskier patients, with each specialty having a reported 38 percent of providers saying they would avoid such patients.

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