The Ethics and Economy of Healthcare in America

Photo courtesy of Andrew  McDonald
Photo courtesy of Andrew McDonald

On Nov. 5, the Bolte Business School hosted health care professionals to discuss corporate social responsibility and the ethics of the health care profession.

The panel included three Mount graduates, Richard P. Kidwell, Richard P. Miller and William J. Ward, with moderation by Gracelyn McDermott from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission.

Kidwell, the Vice President of Rick Management from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, recognized medical malpractice as a key driver for unethical practices.  He explained how hospitals are working on providing support for victims of malpractice and owning up to the mistakes that have been made in the past.

“It’s only in your young lifetime that we’ve seen the light to do the right thing, to be open and honest and take accountability,” Kidwell said.

Kidwell also emphasized the role of the doctors themselves and the part they play in ensuring the best care possible for patients. He mentioned that many times, malpractice is not the doctor’s fault entirely.

“There’s a second victim in all of this, not just the family or patient, but the nurses and doctors. They are there because they want to help and cure people. Sometimes we are so focused on the patient that we forget about the doctors that might have emotional problems as a result of this,” said Kidwell.

Ward, the Former Director of the Master of Health Care Administration Program from Johns Hopkins University, spoke about the importance of the private sector.

“The role of government is to provide for the common defense, but only promote the general welfare,” Ward said.

He also challenged hospitals to promote lifestyle changes for their patients.  He proposed ideas to regulate health care through the idea that, “we are born healthy, so we should stay healthy.”

Ward’s key steps to change included involving the individual’s needs, turning the private sector loose, and limiting the role of the federal government in health care.  He challenged leaders in Academia to step forward and fight for what is right.

Miller, President and CEO of Virtua, a company focused on end-of-life care, spoke about the importance of recognizing the human dignity.

Miller said, “Typically, a lot of end-of-life care has happened in hospitals – that’s the wrong setting. The goal is to make it patient-centric: what does the individual want at the end of life? What are their needs and desires?”

In his introduction of the panelists, Dean Karl Einolf emphasized that the point of the panel was to prepare students to be ethical decision makers.

“We must challenge our students to think about hard and complex scenarios. We are dealing with peoples’ lives, often our own lives, or the lives of people that we hold dear to us,” Einolf said.

Rebecca Schisler

News Editor for The Mountain Echo

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