The American Medical Association's House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved an internal report asserting physicians' right to charge patients a premium for extra services such as guaranteed same-day appointments, lavish waiting rooms and longer visits. The endorsement of so-called "boutique medicine" came despite concerns among delegates that a proliferation of the controversial practice might limit access to care. The report by the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, however, backed boutique medicine only so long as patients are not abandoned and added that patients should receive the same diagnostic and therapeutic services regardless of whether they pay a premium for added amenities. One official on the council said the report backed a "pluralistic" approach to medical care and is largely a "reminder" to the relatively few physicians who have opened restricted boutique practices. It was approved by the delegates at the AMA's annual meeting in Chicago. -- by Michael Romano
AMA backs 'boutique' medicine, with reservations
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