Emotional situations with patients, money: 8 physician survey findings

Half of physicians would refuse to see patients who won't wear a mask or social distance, according to a Medscape report focused on ethically challenging scenarios. 

For the report, "Right or Wrong in Medicine: Emotional Situations with Patients or Money," Medscape surveyed 4,151 U.S. physicians across 29 specialties. Data were collected from online surveys between April 20 and July 18. 

Here are seven more findings from the report, which was published Dec. 7:  

1. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said a romantic relationship with a patient is unacceptable. Nearly 30 percent said it's acceptable if it's been at least 6 months since the patient has stopped being the physician's patient. Just 3 percent of respondents believe it is acceptable overall.  

2. Sixty-nine percent of physicians say they would not weed out patients who have multiple comorbidities. About 19 percent said it depends on the situation and 11 percent indicated they would. 

3. Few physicians (10 percent) indicated they would be willing to avoid offering a potentially effective treatment to a patient if they knew health insurance would not cover it. 

4. Nearly 80 percent of physicians said it is not acceptable to upcode or overstate a patient's conditions so an insurer will cover it — a result that has been fairly consistent for at least a decade, according to Medscape

5. Fifty percent of physicians said it is acceptable to breach patient confidentiality when someone's health may be threatened. 

6. Most respondents said they would refer patients outside of their practice or health system if they believed patients' treatment could benefit, despite business pressures. Only 3 percent said they would not and 12 percent said it depends. 

7. Fifty-four percent of physicians believe patients with unhealthy habits should pay more for health insurance.  

View more of the findings here

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