Instructions: Working in the health industry, one will be faced with certain ethical dilemmas even though they’re not providing direct patient care that can potentially affect patient care. Below is a fictitious ethical dilemma that someone working in the business-side of health care might face. Read the case study (you may use articles provided for background information) then answer the questions that follow the study. While answering the questions, write a well-developed argument justifying your response or lack of a response.
You are the chief financial officer (CFO) for a hospital that wants to begin specializing in maternal care. The hospital recently merged with a local OB-GYN group. After a few months you begin looking at the quarterly reimbursement amounts and realize some of the obstetricians rarely or if at all have delivered any vaginal births but almost solely cesarean (c-section) births since becoming part of the hospital. From the business-side you know that the hospital, as well as the physician, receives a higher reimbursement amount for a cesarean birth. Since obstetrics is a field of medicine that carries a higher risk of medical liability, you suspect that some of the physicians might be practicing “defensive medicine” to avoid a potential lawsuit. After doing some research on this particular topic, you realize that studies indicate cesarean birthing outcomes are generally not better compared to a vaginal birth. After reading one of the articles cited below, you learn that cesarean births raise the “potential for increased rates of surgical complications, infections, risks in future pregnancies, and much higher costs to patients.” To add to this matter, the hospital’s compliance officer stated that she had received a number of concerns from recent mothers who requested a vaginal birth but was strongly encouraged to receive a cesarean from their obstetrician.
What would you do in this type of situation? If you choose not to do anything, why and what are your reasons? You will need to write a cogent and well-thought out response that clearly substantiate your views regarding this practice of defensive medicine and its ethical and legal implications.