When a patient ‘goes private’ in the public hospital system they get to choose which physician or surgeon looks after them. Recently in a newsletter for the MJA, Dr. Henry Woo, a urologist and Professor of Surgery, noted that conflict of interests exists when discussing the risks and benefits of staying a public patient versus ‘going private’. A private patient in a public hospital makes the hospital and the surgeon more money but the extra money is coming from the patient’s hip pocket:
And followed it in the MJA to find:
(Don’t know how to hyperlink :huh:)
I’ve got little to add to what’s been said, except to pose these questions – faced with the opportunity where a patient has health insurance and was thinking about going into the private health care system would you encourage them? If they hadn’t considered private? What if you were to financially benefit from it?
Have a read of the 4 comments on the MJA link, they’re quite good. I particularly like this comment as it brings to light a whole new issue:
The article deals exclusively with surgical patients. What about medical patients: Can anyone explain to me (an experienced physician) what benefit there is to a medical patient going private in a public hospital, unless there is a surgical episode? They essentially get the same treatment and access to me as the public patients, yet they may get a wad of bills and paperwork to deal with after discharge. Fee-for-service? At one NSW hospital, I was paid FFS – this resulted in a perverse incentive to spend as little time as possible with the patients and more time in rooms (with even a little push from administration to “keep out of the way” of hospital staff!). With administrators refusing to pay the junior staff unrostered overtime, the result was an busy hospital where “from top-down” there was no incentive to spend any time with patients. And with the pressure to discharge early, administratively, all looked fine from the point of view of finances, bed days and benchmarks, but no-one was monitoring any real parameters of quality and safety …
Anyway, off to class!
Edit: Also don’t think this is posted in the right place.. it’s meant for discussion, but I’m rushed and can’t find the right forum! Someone move it for me? 🙂