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No more free lunch for doctors

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I’ve seen a lot of comments on the web about doctors getting free lunches from pharmaceutical companies as an explanation for why we hand out so many prescriptions. I don’t actually know anyone in my group of 30 or so doctors who sees drug reps anymore. The programming by we are influenced these days is much harder for our patients to see—even reporters seem not to know to write about it. It’s called “Pay for Performance,” or P4P.

P4P is exactly what it sounds like it is: Insurance companies pay us more if we write more prescriptions and order more tests. They hold back a percentage of our payment until the end of the year, and then measure how well we’ve “performed.” If we played by their rules, we can get the rest of the payment. If we haven’t, the insurance company wins the right to keep that money.

The medications and interventions most often measured in “quality” programs are cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes pills, vaccinations, and mammograms.
What do you think about this practice?

Do you think it’s a good idea for your doctor’s pay to be tied to the number of prescriptions you buy?

Do you think your doctor may have been influenced this way to put you on a medication or order a test?

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Dr. Cate

With over two decades of clinical experience and expertise in genetic and biochemical research, Dr. Cate can help you to reverse metabolic disease and reshape your body.

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  • Greg

    I suscribe to most of what you espouse, Kate, while working for a pharma company. I take no pills. P4P, which I dislike, usually takes into consideration many more factors than Rx’ing meds. One of the most widely quoted measures of P4P is generic med Rx’ing, and there are no sales forces for generics. So, I encourage you to keep practicing medicine tailored to the individual, and absorb the economic consequences, which, to my knowledge, are not a huge % of total compensation.

  • Bobie

    We, the People must stop being LAZY, and do the RIGHT things in taking care of our bodies.

    I use to HATE coming from a poor background, only to learn, I was very forunate to have had that life, for I was forced to grow up on NATURAL, HOMEGROWN foods! We could NOT afford meats on a daily basis, if we got it once a month, we were lucky! We grew up on veggies and fruits, because it was all we could afford, and got much of it free, because my brothers worked on those trucks. Peanut Butter was a Prime Rib Diner to us!

    Beans and Veggies was our diet, and I thought we were POOR … what a fool we were, and how our Government play these games on us … RUINING our health!

  • Bobie

    THANK YOU for being STRONG and INDEPENDENT! It is so hard finding a GOOD CARING DOCTOR today, that I am TERRIFIED when I have to see one. Granted, I am in somewhat good health, whereby my issues are eyes and teeth.

    I’ve ALWAYS had an adversion, allergic reaction to prescription drugs, and found other alternatives through vitamins. Granted, I dislike taking the “horse Pills”, but I managed, with NO SIDE EFFECTS, and CURED my over all health issues, even though I am STILL suffering Eye and Teeth issues.

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