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Drug and Alcohol Testing of Emergency Room Patients Avoided by Hospitals

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I was shocked to read the recent posting by Columbus Attorney Scott Smith regarding emergency room doctors and nurses that don’t test patients for drug and alcohol use for fear that the costs of the procedure would be denied by insurance companies. A 1953 Ohio insurance law permits health insurance companies to deny claims for injuries that result from alcohol or drug use so it appears that many Ohio hospitals have elected not to conduct testing in order to assure that they will be paid.

To me this seems to suggest that hospitals are putting profits over safety especially when drug and alcohol use by a patient in a life threatening condition could alter the effect and expected outcome of patient care. When looked at in this light its hard to imagine that the insurance and medical lobbies have pushed so hard to deform the rights and recovery available to consumers who are the victims of medical malpractice. A more rational approach would be to eliminate the increased likelihood of medical negligence where hospitals are more concerned with getting paid than with quality patient care.