The Pros from Dover
“We are the Pros from Dover, and we figure to crack this kid’s chest and get out to the golf course before it gets dark.” – Trapper John, MASH (1970)
MASH surgeons Trapper John and Hawkeye Pierce were accused of many things — a taste for martinis and pretty nurses. But they were never accused of putting money ahead of care. They knew when to crack a chest.
Writing in Bloomberg Businessweek, Peter Waldman reports on Saint Joseph Health System’s settlement of a $16.5 million federal whistle-blower suit. Allegations included kickbacks to cardiologists for referring patients for unnecessary chest-cracking bypass surgeries.
In addition, there were claims of needless and expensive cardiac stenting (angioplasties). Medical trials have proven that medications /lifestyle changes may be more appropriate and effective in staving off heart attacks in many stable heart patients.
While this unit of Catholic Health Initiatives did not admit to any law violation and only settled to avoid litigation, we find the quote from Peter Hasselbacher, emeritus professor of medicine at UofL, to be extremely illuminating: “We will never get a handle on controlling medical costs until we as a public are willing to hold health-care professionals and hospitals fully responsible for these violations of trust.”
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Posted in OMCA