Maryland Hospitals: More Unnecessary Procedures

WJZ reports that Maryland state health regulators are investigating another hospital suspected of performing unnecessary procedures. I think the assumption is that this involoves stents but little detail has been provided.

“We’ve asked the Office of Health Care Quality to do an on-site review, a utilization review of another hospital. If I wanted to name the hospital, I would have named it in the report. That’s an ongoing investigation and at this point, we are maintaining that confidentiality,” said Maryland Health Department Secretary John Colmers.

In other words, I have a secret and I won’t tell you what it is. I hate it when people do that. But it should be more than a little annoying to the patient who is medicalmalpracticegetting ready to undergo the unnecessary procedure at Hospital A. I realize you don’t want to slander the hospital if your investigation turns up no solid evidence. But why bring it up in the first place? I’m no insider and there could be a very good reason why the health department is approaching it this way. But I can’t figure out what it could be.

There is comedy, there is good comedy, and then there is this first posted comment to the WJZ article:

I have a lot of sympathy for doctors-our culture of ‘jackpot justice’ has put them in an untenable position. They are forced to perform every test in the book to guard against malpractice suits, and then are sued for performing the tests. The best thing this country could do is limit the number of JD’s granted each year.

Setting aside the merits of the position, is this really the best time to make the “jackpot justice” argument? After missing a deadline on a key assignment, it is probably not the best time to ask for a raise. But, sometimes, the man with the hammer sees everything as a nail.

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