Cash for Lower Cholesterol


new study offered cash rewards to doctors and the patients to help them lower their cholesterol levels. Yup, you read that right. Here is more:

  • Surprisingly, the program was only successful when both the doctor and patient were paid to work together to achieve the common goal, the study found. Patients who shared a financial incentive with their doctor to lower their levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol achieved a statistically significant reduction after a year of treatment, the study authors said.
  • LDL cholesterol levels didn’t significantly drop if the cold hard cash was offered to either the patient or the doctor alone, the study revealed.

So, that is what it comes down to, paying the doc and the patient. My question is, for what metrics?  If you use cholesterol, which marker?  And wouldn’t this drive more medication use?



Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  3 comments for “Cash for Lower Cholesterol

  1. DrG
    December 2, 2015 at 10:17 am

    It’s time to cure your cholesterol phobia if you want your brain to survive and function.

  2. Kurt
    December 2, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I’m incensed and will forego with the vulgarity Doug would have to censor.

    I will say primary care is expected to be a nursemaid, guardian angel, secretary and health policemen. We’re not paid enough to do the first three as patients aren’t expected to take responsibility anymore. We’re supposed to “educate them” and they’ll follow. B.S. As far as health policemen, we don’t have any teeth for enforcement, period.

    Patients can do whatever they want when they leave the office. This holding Drs. and hospitals accountable for their behavior is insane.
    I’m lucky I only have 6 years to go. People can toss all the nice printed
    information sheets into their wood stoves.

    Now, if the insurance and drug companies want to do a carrot
    on a stick routine to encourage patient compliance, fine. I’ve always tried to get people to change their habits and I don’t need a stupid incentive to
    “try harder”. Am already maxed. In fact, an incentive/disincentive for patients might be the ONLY way to get behaviors to change in this country.

    Oh one other thought. The ivory tower bastards become ivory tower bastards because they can’t handle the responsibilities and travails of a standard practice but they get to make the “rules” for the rest of us.


  3. Sir Lance-a-lot
    November 30, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Brilliant idea.

    If I am a “drug company” (let’s just come up with a random name… say, “Pfizer”)…
    If I am “Pfizer,” and I make a cholesterol lowering drug, and it has been reasonably well proven that lowering cholesterol is good, and I can show that by offering a “small amount of money” (let’s not say “bribe” or “kickback”), well below my profit on the drug, more people will use the drug, then I can make even more money by selling the drug.

    And the insurance companies have to pay me, because I’ve proven that this improves health outcomes.

    Just think of how happy the orthopedic and cardiac implantable manufacturers will be when they figure out how to put this idea into use.

    I wonder whether, by buying lunch for doctors and their staffs, other health outcomes could be improved…?

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