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September 20, 2000

Should Physicians Manipulate Reimbursement Rules to Benefit Patients?

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(11):1382-1383. doi:10.1001/jama.284.11.1378

To the Editor: Even though many physicians have not actually sworn the Hippocratic oath, the concept "first do no harm" is still impressed on all those who study medicine, or so I thought. Thus, I read the article by Dr Wynia and colleagues1 with much sadness on behalf of our profession.

Stated bluntly, the article reveals widespread lying, cheating, and stealing in the name of patient care. It reveals the decline of a noble profession in which physicians were once pillars of respectability in their communities. The behaviors described in the article also may augment physicians' income. While patient advocacy is noble and in keeping with the high ideals of our profession, absconding with illicitly gained professional fees is not.

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