Gail B. Agrawal


This Article contends that market failures and the inherent limitation of an economic model to regulate health care delivery warrant a reexamination of physician self-regulation as a means to address the necessity of and concerns about health care spending controls. Although physicians, like all market participants, will respond to economic incentives, the standards for professional conduct adopted through self-regulatory mechanisms are an additional, important, and overlooked determinant of physician conduct. They can be used to achieve results that evade both market forces and command-and-control legislation. These standard, however, have not kept up-to-date with the new market demands on physicians. If physicians are to fulfill the tasks assigned to them in a cost-constrained health care delivery system, professional standards will have to be reexamined and modified to provide substantive guidance to physicians making medical decisions under financial restraints.

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