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ACP Offers Ethical Guidelines for Wellness Program Incentives

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 27, 2010

ACP quite clearly opposes "negative incentives" that penalize patients who don't meet goals by withholding or cutting benefits, or by increasing health insurance premiums. Instead, ACP says incentive programs must:

  • be equitable and not penalize individuals by withholding benefits.
  • support a patient's right to refuse treatment without punitive consequences.
  • be transparent and provide a clear explanation of the benefits and operational details.
  • support the patient-physician relationship and the physician's ethical and professional obligations to care for patients.
  • be designed to allocate benefits equitably.
  • facilitate patient-centered care.

"Incentive programs should not discriminate against a class or category of people," said Virginia Hood, a co-author of the paper. "Age, gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status should be carefully considered in designing, implementing, and interpreting results of social and behavioral interventions."



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