Physicians' lack of financial management skills lead to waste, overbilling

Despite the huge impact they have on the use--or misuse--of healthcare dollars, physicians aren't properly trained to manage finite resources and need to learn much more about billing and coding, according to a study in Journal of the American Medical Association.

Although the effects of inaccurate, misleading and fraudulent documentation are substantial, only 44 percent of medical schools and 68 percent of institutions supporting graduate medical education offer any instruction in program integrity, the authors note.

Although a relatively small number of doctors deliberately defraud payers, the number of physicians who are willing to deceive public and private payers to serve patients' interests or meet what they consider to be a moral care obligation could be much greater.

One solution is state-required continuing medical education in program integrity as a condition for licensure, the authors wrote.

To learn more:
- read the full study (subscription required)
- read the JAMA study abstract
- read the MedPage Today article