Organizational Ethics and Health Care: Expanding Bioethics to the Institutional Arena
Bishop, Laura Jane
Cherry, M. Nichelle
In 1995, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) expanded its patient rights standards to include requirements for assuring that hospital business practices would be ethical. Renamed “Patient Rights and Organization Ethics,” these standards are based on the realization that a hospital’s obligation to its patients is derived from two relationships: the patient-provider relationship governed by “clinical ethics,” and the customer-supplier relationship governed by “business ethics.” “[This] boundary between ‘clinical’ ethics and ‘business’ ethics is not clear and in many cases is nonexistent. While marketing and admission practices are seen as issues related to ‘business’ they can lead to unneeded admissions or demand for unneeded services, both of which can unnecessarily expose the patient to the risk of side effects or complications. Likewise, underutilization of needed services is likely to lead to less than optimal health outcomes” (I. Schyve 1996, p. 17).
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