AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. February 2013, Volume 15, Number 2.

Ethics Poll

Hospital Business

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

Some physician groups and clinics hire people to pretend to be patients, make appointments, and report to the physician group or clinic on the quality of their experience with office staff and physicians during the visit. Do you think use of this “secret shopper” approach to quality control is fair to the physicians who get visited and to “real” patients?
Yes.
No.
Don’t know.

Many hospitals have VIP rooms or floors where their donors stay when hospitalized. The donors are pampered and cultivated on the premise that their continued financial support allows the hospital to improve its care for all patients. Do you think special (nontreatment-related) “perks” for hospital donors is ethical?
Yes.
No.
Don’t know.

Over the last several decades, more and more physicians have become employees of hospitals and managed care organizations. All things considered, which of the following best expresses what you think of this trend toward salaried physicians?
It’s good. A physician who does not have to think about the business end of operating a practice has more time for patients and keeping current with medical knowledge.
I don't like it. The physician’s employer has “bottom line” interests that influence or even dictate some of the physician' clinical decisions.
I don’t think the employment status makes any difference. A physician with integrity practices the same way, regardless of whether he or she is salaried or maintains a practice of his or her own.
I Don’t know.

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Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of Virtual Mentor readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.