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Internists recommend principles on role of governments in regulating patient-physician relationship
Date:8/8/2012

(Washington) The American College of Physicians (ACP) today released a paper, Statement of Principles on the Role of Governments in Regulating the Patient-Physician Relationship, which recommends principles for the role of federal and state governments in health care and the patient-physician relationship.

"The physician's first and primary duty is to put the patient first," David L. Bronson, MD, FACP, president of ACP, said. "To accomplish this duty, physicians and the medical profession have been granted by government a privileged position in society."

Dr. Bronson noted, though, that "some recent laws and proposed legislation appear to inappropriately infringe on clinical medical practice and patient-physician relationships, crossing traditional boundaries and intruding into the realm of medical professionalism."

Pointing to examples in ACP's paper, he expressed concern about laws that interfere, or have the potential to interfere, with appropriate clinical practice by:

  • prohibiting physicians from discussing with or asking their patients about risk factors that may affect their health or the health of their families, as recommended by evidence-based guidelines of care;
  • requiring physicians to discuss specific practices that in the physician's best clinical judgment are not individualized to the patient;
  • requiring physicians to provide diagnostic tests or medical interventions that are not supported by evidence or clinical relevance; or
  • limiting information that physicians can disclose to patients.

The paper, produced by ACP's Health and Public Policy with input from ACP's Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee, offers a framework for evaluating laws and regulations affecting the patient-physician relationship, rather than taking a position on the specific issues that are cited by lawmakers to impose particular restrictions or mandates.

ACP's paper
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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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