February 17, 2017

Healthcare organizations face enormous challenges in these times that are so uncertain about where health policy is moving under the new federal administration. The Affordable Care Act required challenging changes by these organizations and now they’re contending with guessing about what will change in the state and federal policies that could affect their ability to operate.

There is a long history of healthcare organizations putting their financial health before the health of their patients and the communities they serve, including turning a blind eye to a cardiac surgeon who performed unnecessary surgery for reasons of profit–for himself and the hospital. When organizations behave unethically, it often puts pressure on clinicians to put the organization’s priorities before the patient’s. While there are codes of conduct and standards of professionalism for healthcare professionals, there have been few guideposts or standards of professionalism for healthcare organizations. Until now.

There is a new Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations developed by an interprofessional group that included patients and consumer advocates (transparency: I was a member of the workgroup). I wrote about the charter, why it’s needed, and its themes for JAMA News Forum. You can read it here: https://newsatjama.jama.com/2017/02/15/jama-forum-professionalism-in-health-care-organizations/

JAMA News Forum doesn’t permit comments on its website, but I would welcome your thoughts here. And please do share the Charter with friends, colleagues, trustees and employers.