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The federal government is putting your life at risk under the guise of “patient satisfaction.”

In yet another example of how federal overreach can corrupt our health care system, physicians are being pressured to order life threatening treatments at the risk of losing “incentive compensation” by the federal government.

According an article on the UC Davis website, a recent national study conducted by a team of UC (University of California) Davis researchers and published in Archives of Internal Medicine:

“’Patient satisfaction is a widely emphasized indicator of health-care quality, but our study calls into question whether increased patient satisfaction, as currently measured and used, is a wise goal in and of itself,’ said Joshua Fenton, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine and lead author of the study.

Prior studies have shown that patient satisfaction strongly correlates with the extent to which physicians fulfill patient expectations, according to Fenton.

“’Doctors may order requested tests or treatments to satisfy patients rather than out of medical necessity, which may expose patients to risks without benefits,’ he said. ’A better approach is to explain carefully why a test or treatment isn’t needed, but that takes time, which is in short supply during primary-care visits.’

Patient-satisfaction surveys are commonly conducted by health systems to evaluate patients’ perceptions of their encounters with physicians. The results can be used to establish quality-improvement measures with the hope of strengthening patient loyalty.

Fenton pointed out that because many physicians receive incentive compensation based on patient satisfaction, they may be reluctant to bring up the downsides of requested tests or treatments. Providers who are too concerned with patient satisfaction may also be unwilling to bring up uncomfortable issues such as smoking, substance abuse or mental health, which may then go unaddressed.

The study found that patients who were most satisfied had greater chances of being admitted to the hospital and had about 9 percent higher total health-care costs as well as 9 percent higher prescription drug expenditures. Most strikingly, death rates also were higher: For every 100 people who died over an average period of nearly four years in the least satisfied group, about 126 people died in the most satisfied group.”

Nurses are also under a lot of pressure in this “keep the patient happy” mentality. Imagine you’re a nurse in an ICU unit and your patient has just awoken from surgery; he/she is going to be in pain and not happy. One of the patient survey questions asked is “did you feel the nurse did everything to relieve your pain?”

Pain gets a bad rap. It is what tells you something is wrong. Patients will be in pain until they heal. The only way to stop the pain is by sedation or prescribing pain medication, which can lead to a host of other problems. Those federal funds, combined with hospitals already struggling with their finances, leave physicians no other choice than resort to treatments, which in the long run may do harm than good.

You can credit Obamacare for this. Mainstream media will never report it. “Keep the patient happy” translates in the Liberal Democrat philosophy to “Keep the people stupid.”

Follow James on Twitter @NY_2_Carolina

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