MDs Willing to Lie to Get Insurance Coverage

In two related articles the theme of doctors lying is the top issue. On the front page of the October 25th 1999 issue of the USA Today newspaper was the headline, “Doctors say they would lie to get insurers to pay.” Also on the front of the American Medical News was the title, “New Study confirms: Doctors willing to lie for coverage.”

These strong condemning statements were based on a study of 169 internists where 57.7% sanctioned the use of deception as justification of getting insurance companies to pay. The percentages varied depending on the severity of the patient condition.

In addition to the above study a group of doctors were polled in a recent Kaiser Family Foundation / Harvard University School of Public Health survey. In this survey 48% admitted to exaggerating the severity of some patients conditions in the past two years.

In still another survey presented by the AMA Institute for Ethics at the Association for Health Service Research annual meeting it was disclosed that 39% of MDs had used deception.