AMA warns doctors about “divided loyalty” between patients and hospital budgets
“In any situation where the economic or other interests of the employer are in conflict with patient welfare, patient welfare must take priority,” says a policy statement adopted by the association.
“A physician’s paramount responsibility is to his or her patients,” the association said. At the same time, it added, a doctor “owes a duty of loyalty to his or her employer,” and “this divided loyalty can create conflicts of interest, such as financial incentives to over- or under-treat patients.”
The association is disseminating its policy to doctors at a time when more of them are becoming hospital employees. About one-third of new doctors say they would prefer to be employed by hospitals, rather than practice on their own.