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Financial Security for Physicians

      To the Editor:
      Dr. William Roberts, in his Review piece in the December 2020 issue of The American Journal of Medicine, “The Importance of Acquiring Financial Security for Physicians,”
      • Roberts WC.
      The importance of acquiring financial security for physicians.
      stated, “Physicians, in my view, should always have an income where a decision for a patient is never influenced by personal financial reward!” He wrote about the fiduciary responsibility that physicians have “to do only what is best for the patient.” I couldn't agree more with the last statement, but I take issue with the first. In my opinion, the suggestion that personal financial security is a major factor in preventing a physician from ordering an unnecessary test or performing an unnecessary procedure is highly questionable. Financial security should never be the driver of whether such tests or procedures are recommended.
      It is at the heart of medical ethics to act with beneficence and nonmaleficence in our care of patients. What an individual physician's financial situation is should have no bearing on how that physician cares for his or her patients. The mutual trust that ideally exists in the physician–patient relationship requires all of us to engage our patients in shared decision-making and to not allow financial concerns on the part of the physician to interfere with such discussions.

      Reference

        • Roberts WC.
        The importance of acquiring financial security for physicians.
        Am J Med. 2020; 133: 1403-1405