Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Snooping curtailed

Medscape Medical News reports that the federal government has called off its mystery shopper survey of primary care practices, the subject of my blog post here.

Reacting to accusations of both snooping and wasting money, the federal government announced today that it is suspending a proposed plan to have "mystery shoppers" seek appointments with physicians to determine how easy or hard it is to access primary care, especially for someone covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

The explanation:

In response to all the flak, an HHS spokesperson announced today that the study is on hold.

"After reviewing feedback received during the public comment period, we have determined that now is not the time to move forward with this research project," the HHS spokesperson said in a statement. "Instead, we will pursue other initiatives that build on our efforts to increase access to health care providers nationwide."

I am not sure which is more troubling, that the idea emerged in the first place or that the government is so wimpy about its convictions that it backed off so easily in the face of criticism.

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