Tuesday, April 22, 2014
When doctors deny care because of costs
File this under "Because we don't have enough to worry about." Also: "Knowledge is power."
Doctors are now starting to weigh the cost of medical care as they make decisions about patients, reports Andrew Pollack in The New York Times. It cites a study that examined 30 sets of medical guidelines issued by physician specialty societies; seventeen of them took costs into account.
The article doesn't address special needs healthcare, but it's not hard to imagine how this could impact our kids. Sadly, there are already medical experts out there who think the lives of people with special needs are worth less than others, as we saw with little Amelia Rivera. She has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome and intellectual disabilities; a doctor at CHOP deemed her a bad candidate for a kidney transplant because, he noted, she was "mentally retarded." (Amelia got her transplant in July and is thriving, per this USA Today article.)
This is not to say that the wonderful neurologist, pediatrician, physiatrist or whatever specialist who cares for your child is necessarily going to start denying him tests, therapies, equipment or medicine. For that, we have insurance companies! (He, he.) But this is to say that we're living in a changing healthcare world and it's a good thing to have in the back of your head should you ever face a situation in which a medical expert is against giving your child a treatment.
As parents of kids with special needs, we know to ask—and ask and ask—questions about the care our kids receive. This is just yet one more to add to our arsenal.
Image: Flickr/Robert Huffstutter