Over at HealthNewsReview.org Gary Schwitzer has published a disturbing piece that looks at American Urological Association support for a bll that would make “significant changes to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.”
The guest post is written by Dr.Richard Hoffman, who is both one of HealthNewsReivew’s reviewers, and an editor at the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, a group that promotes “shared decision making.” The Foundation, which was co-founded by Dr.Jack Wennber, the father of the Dartmouth Reserach,uses medical evidence to produce outstanding videos, pamphlets and web-based programs that help patients understand the potential risks and benefits of elective surgeries and tests.. (I have written about “shared decision making” in past posts ).
Below, an excerpt from Hoffman’s piece:
“Last week, the Supreme Court largely upheld the Affordable Care Act. Two weeks ago, legislation (H.R. 5998) was introduced that threatens the autonomy of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
“The legislation proposes to mandate a more transparent process for guideline development, a greater role for specialists and advocacy groups, and eliminating the Department of Health and Human Services’ secretarial discretion to withhold Medicare funding for interventions that lack convincing evidence for benefit. The legislation, which comes on the heels of the Task Force’s controversial D rating against prostate cancer screening, is strongly supported by several prominent urological associations.
“Unfortunately, Congressional efforts on behalf of groups with financial conflicts of interest are not unprecedented. In 1994, the North American Spine Society (NASS) was offended by an Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) report recommending against early spinal fusion surgery for back pain (based on data suggesting increased harms and no benefits). NASS successfully lobbied Congress to essentially defund the Agency.
“…health care reform will succeed only if it improves quality of care and controls health care costs. When conflicted professional organizations challenge recommendations against providing unnecessary and potentially harmful care, they subvert both quality and cost initiatives. . . . ” You can read the rest of Dr. Hoffman’s post here
Hoffman serves as interim director for cancer prevention at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center where his areas of interest include prostate and colorectal cancer screening, and prostate cancer treatment outcomes. He holds an MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an MPH from the University of Washington