The Priceline of Healthcare

Posted on August 13, 2014 by Shapiro Law Group

We recently posted a blog that discussed the medical malpractice implications of Groupon offering medical services coupons at steeply discounted prices. Now, as MedPage Today reports, an auction website has begun offering medical services in which doctors bid on patients’ posted ailments that they would like to treat.

The auction website is called “Medibid,” and it operates largely outside the traditional confines of health insurance. The service has been gaining steam the last four years and links patients seeking nonemergency care with doctors and facilities that are willing to offer the nonemergency care.

Medibid essentially acts in the way that Priceline bidding does to link travelers with discounted airfare and hotels. However, Medibid does not perform a critical investigation of doctors, only requiring doctors to submit their medical license numbers, and vetting is left to prospective patients.

It goes without saying that not properly vetting a doctor could lead to serious issues with accountability and malpractice. From surgical mistakes to hospital mistakes at the typically outpatient centers, there is a clear risk that comes with using Medibid.

Some critics are quoted as saying, “The service provides little in the way of quality indicators for prospective patients, something hospitals convey by granting a doctor privileges and insurers do by accepting doctors on a plan’s roster.”

There is also the fact that many of the procedures on Medibid will be performed in physician-owned outpatient centers, which are more lightly regulated than hospitals and have much fewer safety features in place for patients.

While we are all able to make competent decisions, it should go without saying that medical services are serious engagements that require more attention than pointing and clicking. However, we fully expect to see more individuals accessing Medibid as it becomes more known and with that, patients need to be aware of the medical malpractice risks that will surely come with it.

Shapiro Law Group – Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area



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