Bean counters to patients: take your pills and win the lottery
The Medical Quack explains some of the ins and outs of the insanity induced in our health "care" system by corporate bureaucracy. To try to sum up a bizarre situation, it seems the HMOs want to reward or punish doctors based on their effectiveness at getting patients to take their medication. The purchase of $4 generic prescription drugs through outfits like Wal-Mart destroys the paper trail that makes it possible to apply the incentives. So there are some efforts by the bureaucrats to get this information out of the patients:
Now some companies like Aetna have a lottery pilot program going, that's right you heard that, take your pills and hit the lotto, well a small lotto that is. Almost reminds me of some of the reality shows today, "pill or no pill". I think if we are health conscious and can afford our medications, as patients we will take our pills without having it turned into a mockery of whether or not we take our pills. The electronic device will also tell you how much you could have won if you had taken your pills for the day. I would hate to see this graduate to Pay for Performance for the physician based on how may patients hit the lotto with the number of pills taken, but if you were a sick physician taking a prescribed medication you could double your odds. (grin).
"Accountability" always sounds like such a good thing, like "free markets", doesn't it? But in my experience inside bureaucracies, many or even most efforts to impose accountability create an enormous amount of wasted time and effort. Because they're focused on "counting", not judgment and responsibility.
As the Quack points out, there's another incentive besides the low price for some patients to keep the insurance company from knowing what drugs they're taking. If Congress would pass H.R. 676, we could stop hiding from our insurance companies.
PS: I see from my Google Alert that my pet parasite has some good qualities. Follow the link if you need to be reminded of the hatred that animates some McCain supporters.