Physicians are Apparently Talking About “Defensive Medicine”

It is amazing to me that doctors would actually admit to insurance fraud.  Basically, whenever you read a study or survey stating that XX% of doctors regularly practice defensive medicine, what they are really saying is “yes, I commit fraud on a regular basis by ordering excessive tests and procedures.”

A study was published in the June 28th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine that showed “91% of physician practice defensive medicine.”  In actuality, this was a survey of 2,416 physicians asking if they agree with a couple of statements.  This “91%” figure wasn't based on medical records or some other concrete fact; it was calculated based on doctors’ opinions.

In March 2010, Medscape.com posted an article, Physicians Are Talking About: The Culture of Defensive Medicine.  It included information from an all-physician discussion group, which had asked the question - “Do you practice defensive medicine?”

One neurologist said, “here in southern Michigan, home of (notable) malpractice attorneys, we practice defensive medicine every day, with every patient.” 

A radiologist was also quoted in the article as saying, “defensive medicine is practiced everywhere, everyday. And the costs have got to be simply enormous.”

There are many attempts to prove defensive medicine with surveys and general opinions. However, I have yet to read anything that is based on medical records that show that tests, which weren’t warranted by the medical conditions, were ordered.  If the medical community is claiming there is defensive medicine going on, why don’t they offer up their medical records to prove it? 
Ben Glass
Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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