WSJ Interviews Every Patient’s Advocate

Not only was I privileged to contribute to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal (You Doctor’s Business Ties are Your Business, Too ) — but I actually learned even more than I knew before from the article!

The question asked by the author, David Armstrong, was whether patients have a right to know about any financial ties doctors have to the treatments they recommend. We discussed that topic last week while he was researching for his story. I told him absolutely I believe patients have a right to know, but it’s not so easy as just asking the question.

What I learned from his column is that there is a proposal in Congress called the Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2007 that will require companies to publicly disclose any payments of $25 or more to doctors. I also didn’t know that the American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons has mandated, beginning in January, disclosure of any arrangements made between a surgeon and a company which will relate to treatment. So, for example, if you need your knee replaced, and the surgeon stands to profit from the new knee parts — s/he will need to disclose that to you.

Love it! Both are grand steps forward toward transparency and disclosure…

My contribution to the article was a response to the question whether patients should ask their doctors about financial relationships that might affect their treatment …. my answer might surprise you…. (and you’ll have to read the article to find out why!)

Then, when you’re finished, you’ll be interested in this post, too.

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Trisha Torrey
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