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George Soros Announces $15 Million Effort

Combat The Influence of Money on Health Care

PR Newswire 15apr99

Philanthropist and financier George Soros has announced that his Open Society Institute http://www.soros.org will spend $15 million over three years to combat the influence of money on medical care. The funds will be funneled through a new program initiative to be called Medicine as a Profession (MAP).

In a speech at the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University on April 15, Soros criticized the dominance of marketplace values in the teaching and practice of modern medicine.

"There is unanimity among doctors, deans, historians, and health economists that money has never been so much in the forefront of medicine or potentially so powerful in deter- mining medical decisions," said Soros. "We have never more needed professional ethics to stand out against marketplace forces than now."

Medicine as a Profession will make funds available to bring together medical organizations and consumer organizations and help make them a "force for change" in the health care field. In addition, MAP will help teach young medical professionals how to serve and how to advocate for their patients, particularly patients coming from underserved communities.

"Soros to Announce $15 Million to Combat Influence of Money in Medicine; New Program to Counter Threat Posed to Professional Values and Ethics by For-Profit, Marketplace Forces."

Medicine as a Profession, a program of the Open Society Institute, seeks to address the principles of professionalism that promote trust, quality, equity, efficacy, and privacy in the delivery of health care.

The American health care system is now undergoing radical changes which are affecting almost every aspect of medical organization, physician practice, and patient welfare. These altered circumstances have affected the core relationship between patients and physicians. Consumers of medical care are increasingly suspicious of providers, uncertain, for example, whether financial considerations are dictating treatment decisions. Physicians themselves are uncertain of where they fit within the larger health care system. To whom are they ultimately responsible: to patients, employers, HMO managers, government regulators, or managed care company shareholders? What are their obligations to individuals seeking care, whether insured or uninsured? What are their obligations to the community as resources become scarce and expensive? In essence, the changes in the organization and financing of health care have created an unstable and conflict-ridden environment. This fact serves as the impetus for MAP, the Open Society Institute's program on Medicine as a Profession, which seeks to reassess principles of professionalism in American medicine and determine how they may best be used to advance individual and public well-being.

source: http://www.soros.org/usprograms/medicine.htm

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