Thursday, February 28, 2013

OHP Refuses to Pay for Cancer Drug

OHP official, Dr. Som Saha, makes some absolutely outrageous statements defending the decision to refuse payment for cancer drug!

Although the above story happened a few years ago and letters with such shocking language may not be sent any longer, Medicaid providers, including the new Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO), are still sending the same message.  Within the past month or so, someone came to Oregon Patients Rights Assocation seeking help with getting chemotherapy that was inappropriately denied.   Although our local CCO, Umpqua Health Alliance (UHA) reversed its initial decision, this person was without the therapy while the dispute was going on.  It seems inhumane to treat people who are fighting for their life this way.  The unfortunate reality of rationed care when the cost of health care is only looked at from the point of view of how much money is being spent.  We need to frame the discussion about health care rights from a more moral point of view. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Is Your Doctor Ethical? The Doctor-Patient Relationship

The American Medical Association (AMA) develops opinions regarding the ethical practice of medicine.  Although the AMA is only a professional organization, they do help set the standard of medical practices in our country. 

Below is an AMA opinion about the doctor-patient relationship.  You can compare whether your doctor or other medial professional lives up to the AMA standard.

Opinion 10.015 - The Patient-Physician Relationship

The practice of medicine, and its embodiment in the clinical encounter between a patient and a physician, is fundamentally a moral activity that arises from the imperative to care for patients and to alleviate suffering.

A patient-physician relationship exists when a physician serves a patient’s medical needs, generally by mutual consent between physician and patient (or surrogate). In some instances the agreement is implied, such as in emergency care or when physicians provide services at the request of the treating physician. In rare instances, treatment without consent may be provided under court order (see Opinion 2.065, "Court-Initiated Medical Treatments in Criminal Cases"). 

Nevertheless, the physician’s obligations to the patient remain intact.
The relationship between patient and physician is based on trust and gives rise to physicians’ ethical obligations to place patients’ welfare above their own self-interest and above obligations to other groups, and to advocate for their patients’ welfare.

Within the patient-physician relationship, a physician is ethically required to use sound medical judgment, holding the best interests of the patient as paramount. (I, II, VI, VIII)
Issued December 2001 based on the report "The Patient-Physician Relationship,"PDF File adopted June 2001."
So how ethical is your doctor?  

You can also link to other AMA opinions about medical ethics from here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

OPRA Moving Ahead to Reclaim Patient Autonomy

Since forming in November, our members have been working to educate ourselves and others about our rights.  We have also been setting up our online presence and working with others to move Douglas County towards accountable health care services in order to reclaim our right to make our own health care decisions and not be penalized when we do.

We are now having online planning meetings with those willing and able to spend the large amount of time taking on something like this requires.  We have also scheduled monthly public meetings for the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 5 to 7 p.m. in Room 310, Douglas County Courthouse (1036 SE Douglas Avenue) in Roseburg.  Our next meeting is Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

Anyone who interested in protecting and defending patients rights is welcome to join us.

Follow us on twitter: @opra4dc, like us on Facebook: Oregon Patients Rights Association, subscribe to/follow this blog, email us:, or give us a call (541) 236-3083.