Ever thumb through the pages of a medical journal in a waiting room? If so, you might have noticed a sad trend in the articles by doctors for doctors. They appear to be a lot less chipper than they used to be. In fact, much of the comentary is downright irritable. One common theme seems to be, “We used to have it pretty good. But not anymore.”
Physician forums nationwide bemoan that there are now far too many fingers in the medical cookie jar. Some of those fingers are grubby and some are just plain rude and shouldn’t be there at all. Who are these people? What’s going on? This is our turf.
Well, here’s our take on the matter:
> An FBI report in 2007 revealed that just about half of all hospitals were being investigated for coding fraud.
> The U.S. Dept. of Justice ’09 annual report stated law enforcement spends $500,000,000,000 taxpayer dollars a year on physician crime and medical fraud – from investigation, through litigation, conviction and prison. Let’s all go back and peek at all those zeroes.
> In the last five years, more than 300 doctors have been convicted of performing unnecessary operations, including one surgeon in New York who admitted to 10,000 unneeded eye operations.
> The National Academy of Sciences reports 7,000 citizens die each year because of childlike doctor handwriting.
> The Patient Safety Benchmark Center found surgical errors cost insurance companies $1,500,000,000 per month.
> The U.S. Bureau of Prisons shows 3,400 doctors behind bars, including 204 for murder.
> Last year alone, 2,490 physicians were convicted of serious misbehavior. Between 2000-2009, 11,000 doctors were found guilty of crimes.
> American ‘disease care’ has achieved the ignoble distinction of now being the leading cause of death of healthy people – meaning 500 innocent folks die everyday who shouldn’t.
> The watchdog group Public Citizen estimates there are 250,000 doctors listed in the National Practitioner Data Bank, a shocking number of whom are considered “Dangerous” or “Questionable.”
And so, dear and glorious physicians of America, we pose a very simple question: If you were a legislator throat-latch deep in the turmoil of health care reform; if you were the CEO of an insurance company that underwrites doctors (knowing their propensity to ignore their miscreant peers); If you were merely a logical observer or trier of fact, how much confidence would you have that medicine ought to continue to police itself?
I mean . . . considering all those cookies.
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