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April 13, 2011

Conceptualizing Physician Professionalism

JAMA. 2011;305(14):1411-1413. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.425

To the Editor: Ms Lesser and colleagues1 include “fair and ethical stewardship of health care resources” in their framework for conceptualizing professionalism. While we agree that integrity, accountability, and pursuit of excellence are critical to the professional practice of health care, it may not be appropriate for physicians to determine fair and ethical stewardship of health care resources in the current business of medicine. Rather than purely a business, health care uniquely combines business and professional ideals, which makes resource management challenging. If the principle of beneficence is at the core of the profession, then treating health care as a commodity to be distributed is unethical and unprofessional.

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