Are Physicians Given Financial Incentives to Vaccinate Our Children?

September 8, 2017
Category: GM Articles

Could this really be true? This is what was published at the Wellness and Equality website (https://wellnessandequality.com): “After a reader sent us a link to a PDF file of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Physician Incentive Program available online, Wellness & Equality learned that insurance companies pay pediatricians massive bonuses based on the percentage of children who are fully vaccinated by age 2.” 
The website went on to tell us that even though the Blue Cross/Blue Shield booklet which contained the details of this program had been taken off the Blue Cross/Blue Shield website because of publicity about it, “the full Blue booklet which contains the details about the Blue Cross/Blue Shield vaccine “incentive” program for physicians can be found at: http://www.whale.to/c/2016-BCN-BCBSM-Incentive-Program-Booklet.pdf
“Clicking” on this web-address (aka ‘URL’) when this was written led to the downloadable booklet. Although one can never know for certain from an on-line source, it appeared to be a real Blue Cross/Blue Shield booklet titled “2016 Performance Recognition Program.” Twenty-six of the twenty-seven pages of the booklet carried (in the upper left corner) a copy of a business card for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Care network of Michigan, as well as the slogan “Confidence comes with every card.” Seemed real enough, but still hard to believe because of the program it described.
Here’s a brief summary (with observations and questions) of that Blue Cross Blue Shield “vaccination rewards to physicians” program written by the staff of the Wellness and Equality website[1]: “…how much money do doctors really make from vaccines? The average American pediatrician has 1546 patients, though some pediatricians see many more. The vast majority of those patients are very young, perhaps because children transition to a family physician or stop visiting the doctor at all as they grow up…
“…Blue Cross Blue Shield pays pediatricians $400 per fully vaccinated child. If your pediatrician has just 100 fully-vaccinated patients turning 2 this year, that’s $40,000. Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield pays your doctor a $40,000 bonus for fully vaccinating 100 patients under the age of 2. If your doctor manages to fully vaccinate 200 patients, that bonus jumps to $80,000. 
“But here’s the catch: Under Blue Cross Blue Shield’s rules, pediatricians lose the whole bonus unless at least 63% of patients are fully vaccinated, and that includes the flu vaccine. So it’s not just $400 on your child’s head–it could be the whole bonus. To your doctor, your decision to vaccinate your child might be worth $40,000, or much more, depending on the size of his or her practice.
If your pediatrician recommends that your child under the age of two receive the flu vaccine—even though the flu vaccine has never been studied in very young children and evidence suggests that the flu vaccine actually weakens a person’s immune system over the long term[2]–ask yourself:  Is my doctor more concerned with selling me vaccines to keep my child healthy or to send his child to private school?”
Hard to believe, isn’t it? But the Blue Cross/Blue Shield/Blue Care of Michigan “2016 Performance Incentive Booklet looks real…download it from http://www.whale.to/c/2016-BCN-BCBSM-Incentive-Program-Booklet.pdf and read what it says yourself. If this web-address is “not available” or “no longer available” (found it today when this was written) that alone tells you something, doesn’t it?
 
[1]https://wellnessandequality.com/2016/06/20/how-much-money-do-pediatricians-really-make-from-vaccines/
[2]https://www.statnews.com/2015/11/11/flu-shots-reduce-effectiveness/

One response to “Are Physicians Given Financial Incentives to Vaccinate Our Children?”

  1. gowest0649 says:

    Incentives from insurance companies is just a part of the problem. Physicians receive incentives to prescribe drugs as well. I initially found this hard to believe until I began to look into why GI and ENT docs would prescribe acid reducing medications like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) when most reflux sufferers already have low stomach acid and PPIs are well known to have serious side effects if taken over extended periods. After reading Dr Wright’s book, Why Stomach Acid is Good for You, I attempted to locate a practitioner who administered the Heidelberg stomach acid test to determine if low stomach acid was the cause of my reflux condition. I went to the Heidelberg Medical website, the company that provides the testing equipment and trains the providers searching for a local source. I was surprised to find that there were only 42 clinics in the US and 68 certified providers, none of which were within 400 miles of my location. In fact seven states had no providers to test for low stomach acid. I sent an email to Heidelberg Medical and simply asked them why there were not more providers. Here is their response:
    “Hi Dennis
    Before the Pharmaceutical companies started giving doctors incentives for pushing their products, there were over 300 clinics all over the U.S. that did the test. It has become financially desirable to prescribe meds rather than to do testing. Many gastroenterologists will not do the Heidelberg test, because they can make a lot more money doing upper and lower GIs. Our health system is all about money now”
    I guess the Hipocratic Oath provision “first do no harm (to the patient)” is being interpreted by some physicians as “first do no harm (to my bottom line”)

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