Monday, August 29, 2016

Hsieh Forbes Column: How Government Quality Guidelines Hurt Transplant Patients

My latest Forbes piece is now up: "How Government Quality Guidelines Hurt Transplant Patients".

I discuss how federal government "quality guidelines" created perverse incentives to deny medical care to the sickest patients.

In particular, many transplant centers started dropping the sickest patients from their transplant waiting lists in order to keep their success rates up. Plus many hospitals rejected less-than-perfect organs out of fear of harming their federal government score cards.

As transplant surgeon Dr. Adel Bozorgzadeh said:
“If you have young guy who has a 100 percent chance of dying, but only a 30 percent chance of dying with a transplant, you would say, ‘What the hell, give the guy a chance,’” even if the operation might be risky, he said. “But if I make an argument like that, I will be under pressure from all these other stakeholders who would penalize me.”
The federal guidelines created a conflict of interest for hospitals, caught between their government paymasters and the patients they were supposed to care for.

For more details, read the full text of "How Government Quality Guidelines Hurt Transplant Patients".

(Related piece: "Doctor ‘Report Cards’ May Be Hazardous To Your Health.")