Monday, January 17, 2011

Manage 'managed care'

THE Jan 6 report ("Docs may face changes in ethics rules") highlighted the three ethical issues which the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) is grappling with, namely, organ donation under suspicious circumstances, overcharging by doctors and the possibilities for manipulation by managed-care companies.

The American Medical Association recently revealed that two-thirds of 200 doctors polled in the United States said they would misstate the reason for a diagnostic test for Medicare insurance reasons.

A recent survey revealed that most American doctors support a "single payer" plan that will eliminate the central role of private insurers.

Doctors in many countries are resenting the iron hand of large companies as they are held to ransom by insurers and large hospital chains. The corporatisation of health care is producing a seismic shift in the way doctors look at public health care.

They are experiencing a sudden loss of control at the hands of the insurers and hospital networks, while being snowed under by paperwork and bureaucratic battles with insurance companies over authorisation and payments.

The SMC should consider these global trends and tread carefully lest our health-care system is hijacked by the insurance companies.

Heng Cho Choon

Perhaps unbeknownst to the author, this has already started to happen in Singapore....

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