Who is Watching the Lawyers?

I get so disgusted hearing how doctors have to be constantly watched with their coding and billing and metrics.  There was NEVER any proof that any of this was needed.  Doctors and nurses are still the two most trusted professions in America. Somehow, unfortunately,  we allowed the government and the insurers to create fear amongst the public and covertly claim that we need oppressive oversight.  And we physicians have accepted this!  Do you know who has hardly any oversight?  The lawyers!  Take this class-action case, for example.  This comes from the Wall Street Journal:

Four law firms last year negotiated a $115 million settlement with insurer Anthem to cover a 2015 data breach that compromised 79 million birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses and income data. Yet a mere $51.4 million would go to victims—$0.65 on average per member, including the cost of free-credit monitoring. Attorneys demanded $63.6 million because of what they called their “exceptional results” and the “extremely risky nature” of the case.

It’s ironic that Anthem was involved so it would seem the enemy of my enemy is our friend. Not so.  The lawyers gouged so much money out of the deal that each litigant only got sixty-five cents!  Where is their oversight? Four lead firms farmed out work to 49 other firms, which resulted in duplicative work and increased the fee by $13.6 million.

If this was doctors doing this then they would lose their licenses.  Instead, these firms will walk away with a boatload of money in their accounts looking for new “cases” to help the people. It’s just so sad.

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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] 

  4 comments for “Who is Watching the Lawyers?

  1. Steve O'
    February 20, 2018 at 11:36 am

    People who read Max Weber often talk of the “Iron law of bureaucracy.” Rather, one should speak of the “iron bureaucracy of law.”
    In a totalitarian society, whatever is not mandatory is forbidden. If there is a possible occasion for something to occur, there is a law to control it, they say. Actually, there are many contradictory laws with opposing statements.
    To control people, one needs to threaten them with punishment. The lawgiving authority must claim that it is following objective law; otherwise it looks like a gang of thugs. (Which it is.)
    Even Hitler had his Gleiwicz Incident to start the war against Poland. He did not yet have the self-confidence to do something “because Hitler says so!” That came a little later in history.
    “You have broken Medicare rules! You will be crushed!!” Of course, the gang doesn’t want to crush you, unless it’s been too long since the last doctor was broken on the rack, and the public forgets how awful doctors are. They just want a little more squeeze. They don’t think for the long term, so a little more squeeze this week, and we’ll worry about next week, well, next week.
    These things are not the hallmark of a thriving society.

  2. Pat
    February 19, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    This is where I’m very skeptical that doctors are still a trusted profession. If we were trusted, then why does everyone check, double-check, manipulate, and harass every effort we make? Defensive medicine is a very real necessity – why, if we are so trusted? State governments and our own professional organizations don’t trust us to keep up. And sure as can be, when there is a bad outcome here come the compassionate lawyers to comfort and aid the poor plaintiffs. Medicine is just another realm of conflict, and patient-doctor relationships are and will remain oppositional.

    I know, the point of the column is that no one keeps rein on the damn lawyers. But I see no evidence that doctors are trusted by anyone.

  3. Perry
    February 19, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Lawyers run the country what else would we expect?

  4. George Voigtlander
    February 19, 2018 at 7:40 am

    How can lawyers lose? They dominate most state legislatures. When you get to make the rules, you win.
    In Nebraska we have not had a physician in the legislature for many years. In the last election two doc ran but were opposed by “the machine” and lost.
    I testified against a couple of goofy healthcare laws. Of course they passed! When I was presenting factual information the members of the HHS committee were texting, reading the paper, and flirting with pages.
    No wonder healthcare is a mess. It is more important that docs lose, even if patients are harmed.

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