Newsweek Tackles the Challenge of Money Talk

newsweekIn response to the New England Journal article I published with Yousuf Zafar and Amy Abernethy, Newsweek chimed in this week with a report on the topic, including some thoughtful commentary from other medical experts. I thought it was worth pointing you towards this article, in part to remind you that Newsweek still exists, and also because it is a very nicely written article:

How much bad news is your doctor obliged to give you?

Consider this very depressing scenario: You’ve got colon cancer. Your doctor might tell you there’s some good news, that there’s a powerful and effective drug called Avastin, but warn you about its potentially harmful side effects – it can mess up your heart. But should your doctor also mention another devastating side-effect – that an Avastin regimen could cost more than $50,000, and that a patient who has Medicare but no supplemental insurance might have to pony up $9,000 for this treatment?

We like to pretend doctors are purists who only focus on our physical and mental well-being, but isn’t the health of your wallet also important?

In light of the current, charged debate about unsustainable health-care costs and the Affordable Care Act, Peter Ubel, Duke University professor of medicine, feels it’s time for a cultural shift among doctors. In a New England Journal of Medicine article he wrote with colleagues, Ubel argues that physicians needed to start incorporating the cost of care into their diagnoses. Continue reading here.



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