Cases for and against third-party oversight in healthcare

Now that $1.1 billion has been set aside for "comparative effectiveness" studies, many physicians and patients are worried that it might lead to more interference by the government. But in a recent commentary in The New York Times, Dr. Pauline Chen discusses why she thinks more oversight might not necessarily be a bad thing.

Dr. Chen uses the example of transplantation to make her case. The United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) provides "clinical oversight" for transplants through evidence-based studies and "consensus" opinions of everyone from fellow doctors to families of organ donors. Dr. Chen believes that the combination of sources from which UNOS creates its policies adds a level of transparency that is not as present in other third-party oversight examples such as, say, insurance authorizations. She describes her efforts to obtain authorization for one patient-an elderly woman with a tumor-as "pleading...with a disembodied voice." 

Regardless, there are still some who feel that the government (and other third parties) has no business breaching the doctor-patient relationship. 

For more:
- read this commentary in The New York Times 

Suggested Articles

The profit margins and management of Community Health Group raise questions about oversight of managed care insurers.

Financial experts are warning practices about the pitfalls of promoting medical credit cards to their patients.

A proposed rule issued by HHS on Tuesday would expand short-term coverage, a move Seema Verma said will have "virtually no impact" on ACA premiums.