Saturday, July 30, 2016

Health care ethics in the United States

Today my blog will be an introduction about health care ethics in the United States. Health care ethics is defined as a set of moral principles, beliefs, and values that help guide us to make ethical choices in the field of health care. In the United States, there are four basic principles for health care ethics. These four principles include:

1. Autonomy: Requires that medical professionals honor a patient's right to be fully informed and to make their own decision.

2. Beneficence: Requires that the procedure be provided with the intent of doing good for the patient involved. This means that the medical professionals choose the procedure that is the most beneficial for the patient involved. 

3. Non-Maleficence: Requires that the procedure done does not harm the patient involved or others in society. 

4. Justice: Requires that procedures uphold the spirit of existing laws and are fair to everyone involved.

Every health care professional in the United States is expected to follow these four principles in order to give all patients the best quality of care possible. Unfortunately, there are many cases of medical professionals not following the four principles, and their patients suffering because of it. In my next series of blogs, I will go over ethical challenges in the healthcare field. Please note that due to some of the topics being highly controversial, I will not state my opinion on the topic. Instead, I will introduce both sides of the topic, and let you as the readers decide which side you agree with. My first topic will be about euthanasia and physician assisted suicide in the United States. The blog will be posted within the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned! 



Thursday, April 14, 2016

Medical Fraud/Criminal Aspects in Health Care

Hello all, today I will be writing about health care fraud in the United States. Health care fraud is a serious crime that affects everyone. The National Healthcare Anti-Fraud Association estimates that the financial losses in the United States due to health care fraud is around ten billion dollars a year. Health care fraud also results in people paying a higher premium for health insurance and out-of-pocket expenses. Unfortunately, financial losses are not the only consequence of health care fraud. Another consequence of health care fraud is unnecessary and potentially dangerous medical procedures that risk the lives of the patients involved.

Health care fraud, like all other categories of fraud, relies on false information. There are countless of news articles you can read about fraud being conducted by dishonest medical professionals. Whether it is a physician falsely diagnosing patients with cancer to profit off of expensive cancer drugs, or psychiatrists falsely claiming that their patients are psychotic and suicidal then billing them expensive and dangerous medication that they don't need. For example, there is an article from CNN about medical fraud conducted by Dr. Farid Fata in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Fata pleaded guilty to giving cancer treatments to misdiagnosed patients, telling some of them that they had a terminal cancer. Dr. Fata pleaded guilty to 13 counts of Medicare fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks and two counts of money laundering and will be serving 45 years in priston. Dr. Fata collected a little over 17 million dollars from Medicare and private insurance companies.

In response to the growing concern of health care fraud, The United States passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which specifically established health care fraud as a federal criminal offense and carries a prison term of up to 10 years in addition to financial penalties.

The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA) recommends the following as ways you can individually protect yourself from health care fraud:

  • Protect your health insurance card like you would protect your bank card and social security card.

  • Be careful about disclosing your insurance information. Do not give your insurance information to door to door or phone solicitors, and avoid putting your information over the internet. 

  • Be informed about the healthcare you receive, keep good records of your medical care, and review all the medical bills you receive. 

  • Be aware of free offers. Most offers of free healthcare services, tests, or treatments are often fraudulent schemes designed to bill you and your insurance company illegally. 

Thank you all for reading my blog on medical fraud!

Friday, March 18, 2016

About Me/Blog Introduction

Hello all,

My name is George Biko and I am planning to enroll in law school fall 2017. I recently graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy. I've known since I was in middle school that I wanted to be in the healthcare industry, and recently until this point, I was on track to apply to medical school. Shortly after graduating from Loyola, I realized my passion was geared towards law and ethics rather than medicine. 

In this blog, I will be analyzing a wide range of topics that include ethical issues in the United States. My first blog will be about criminal aspects in the health care industry such as medical fraud, patient abuse, and falsification of records. Some of my topics may be controversial and I welcome debate and discussion about the topic as long as everyone treats one another with respect.  My first blog on criminal aspects will be posted in the next couple of days.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my introduction!