Health care executive’s take on funding is outrageous

In reporting about how the so-called fiscal cliff could put funding for Massachusetts medical researchers in jeopardy (“Mass. medical researchers’ funds at risk,” Page A1, Nov. 21), Tracy Jan paraphrases Dr. Gene Lindsey, chief executive of Atrius Health and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, as follows: “The impact of the research cuts will reverberate throughout the Massachusetts economy, and will lead to higher medical costs for the average health consumer, said Lindsey. If research funding goes down, hospitals will compensate by inflating the price of services or making individual hospitalizations more expensive by conducting more tests, he said.”

Lindsey admits that hospitals would pad their invoices by increasing their prices, performing more tests, or both, to get the income they need. One would expect that prices would increase, but to have an executive admit that tests that were not formerly deemed necessary or cost-effective would be done is outrageous.

Unnecessary tests are not only wasteful, but performing them is immoral and could be dangerous for patients.

Philip W. Goguen