Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 9 (2):189-204 (2000)
The bioethics literature on managed care has devoted significant attention to a broad range of conflicts that managed care is perceived to have introduced into the practice of medicine. In the first part of this paper we discuss three kinds of conflict of interest: conflicts of economic incentives, conflicts with patient and physician autonomy, and conflicts with the fiduciary character of the physician–patient relationship. We argue that the conflicts are either not as serious as they are often alleged to be or not unique to managed care. In part two we argue that managed care represents a new paradigm for medical care that features a new concept of management. We discuss three types or levels of management that managed care highlights, namely, administrative, clinical, and resource, which together offer a more sophisticated vantage point from which to assess patient care. We do not endorse managed care, but attempt to highlight some of the positive changes brought by managed care that were difficult to attain under traditional reimbursement systems
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