Surgery For Pay?

Published on March 17th, 2017

Is pay influencing a doctor’s decision to operate? A new study shows that doctors choose to do surgery not because it is preferable to other treatments but because they get reimbursed for it. Researchers looked at patients with a narrowed artery in the neck, called artery stenosis, a condition that can be treated with surgery or managed with medicine and lifestyle changes. The treatment choice is a judgment call made by a doctor.

Some doctors are paid for every procedure they do. Others were treated by doctors on salary at a military hospital. They discovered that overall, patients in the fee-for-service system were 63 percent more likely to have surgery.

The study is available for view in JAMA Surgery. The lead author, Dr. Louis Nguyen, an associate professor of surgery at Harvard, believes fee-for-service doctors are encouraged to do more surgeries because they are paid by the procedure.

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Source: The New York Times

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