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Can unnecessary treatments constitute medical negligence?

Patient expectations may be highest with their doctors. However, hospital staff, therapists and other health care providers are all held accountable to a standard of care applicable to the medical industry. Accordingly, when a patient is harmed due to medical negligence, a claim of medical malpractice may be viable.

An ongling whistleblower lawsuit provides context. The case is against a nursing home chain called ManorCare. The company, which also operates under the brand names Heartland and Arden Courts, operates nursing homes, rehab and assisted living facilities. According to the allegations, however, the company may have endangered the safety of frail patients by putting them through unnecessary rehab treatments or pushing them into the highest tier of Medicare rehabilitation services. 

Did the company really endanger its patients by prescribing unnecessary treatments or therapies? At least one statistic raises suspicions: From 2006 to 2009, the percentage of ManorCare patients billing at the top Medicare reimbursement rate climbed from 39 to 80 percent.

A company spokesperson denied the allegations, claiming they present a blanket mischaracterization of the clinical judgment of the company’s doctors and staff. However, federal authorities also have their suspicions, as the U.S. Department of Justice recently announced that it was intervening in the ongoing lawsuit.

An attorney that focuses on medical malpractice understands that doctors and their staff have a duty to prescribe medication, therapies and/or treatments that are reasonable and in a patient’s best interest. Under almost no circumstances should increasing revenue motivate a doctor’s professional opinion. Check out our firm's website to learn more. 

Source: Associated Press, “US intervenes in whistleblower cases against nursing homes,” Matthew Barakat, April 21, 2015

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