Self-treatment raises ethical concerns

In recent months, our Corporate and Financial Investigations department has investigated several cases of physicians treating themselves or close family members.

Though self-treatment isn’t illegal, it does raise concerns about ethical conduct. Corporate and Financial Investigations often finds that physicians who self-treat also file claims for medically unnecessary tests and services they don’t actually provide. Many fail to keep proper medical records.

The American Medical Association states: "Physicians generally should not treat themselves or members of their immediate families." The AMA cites concerns over professional objectivity. It also advises physicians not to write prescriptions for controlled substances for themselves or immediate family members.

Under our policy, health care professionals can'be reimbursed for treating themselves or immediate family members. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan recognizes that there are exceptions. We review those on a case-by-case basis.

Members who suspect health care fraud should call our Anti-Fraud Hotline at 1-800-482-3787, or report fraud through our website.

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