An article from Center Professor Dr. Leonard Fleck was published in the July 2016 issue of Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, “a quarterly journal devoted to engaging a world community of bioethicists.” Dr. Fleck’s article, “Choosing Wisely: Is Parsimonious Care Just Rationing?” accesses claims related to the practices of rationing and parsimonious care.
Abstract: The American College of Physicians in its ethics manual endorsed the idea that physicians ought to improve their ability to provide care to their patients more parsimoniously. This elicited a critical backlash; critics essentially claimed that what was being endorsed was a renamed form of rationing. In a recent article, Tilburt and Cassel argued that parsimonious care and rationing are ethically distinct practices. In this essay I critically assess that claim. I argue that in practice there is considerable overlap between what they term parsimonious care and what they define as rationing. The same is true of the Choosing Wisely campaign endorsed by the American Board of Internal Medicine. In both cases, if the goal is to control healthcare costs by reducing the use of marginally beneficial care that is not cost effective, then a public conversation about the justness of specific choices is essential.
To read Dr. Fleck’s article in full, please visit the Cambridge Quarterly website.