Bioethics Quarterly

, Volume 3, Issue 3–4, pp 137–155 | Cite as

Patients' rights and physician accountability: Problems with PSROs

  • Robert M. Veatch


The author examines the ethical underpinnings of the Professional Standard Review Organizations (PSROs). Four normative problems are explored in order of their importance: the problem of bureaucracy incapable of responding sensitively to individual cases; the problem of cost consciousness overcoming the commitment to quality; the problem of commitment to highest quality interfering with other social values and goals; and the problem of value judgments being made by professionals rather than patients whose rights and interests are most directly at stake. Though physicians may indeed be able to balance qualitative and cost considerations with prudence, they, nevertheless, approach medical problems with their own value system. Deciding between marginal health care and alternative courses with a given amount of funds involves subtle value judgments that will vary depending on the value systems of the decision-makers. Because of their unique composition, PSROs cannot adequately reflect the social consensus about what constitutes a reasonable limit to health care.


Health Care Individual Case Medical Problem Professional Standard Cost Consideration 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. Veatch
    • 1
  1. 1.Kennedy Institute of EthicsGeorgetown UniversityUSA

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