Friday, August 1, 2014

The health care world is full of companies that make outrageous unsupported assertions as they pursue profitability.  Generally, the media accept what is said and don't ask hard questions.

Now somebody is asking.

Al Lewis has started a blog called They Said What?, on which he posts the assertions made by companies and asks questions that probe the accuracy.  He offers the company an advanced chance to respond.  Here's the summary:

TheySaidWhat? asks questions that identify possible mistakes in high-visibility contexts and offers those who committed the mistakes the opportunity to correct, apologize for or retract their mistakes…or explain how their positions are correct and we have made a mistake by questioning them.   As described in the FAQs, we offer the perpetrators of the possible mistakes fully five courtesies that very few other critics would allow:
  1. Though in many cases these “mistakes” were likely not innocent ones, we make no accusations but rather simply ask questions and offer the opportunities for answers;
  2. We provide “equal billing” – the perpetrators can write their answers directly following the questions;
  3. We don’t ambush the perpetrators – we send these questions a week in advance, to allow them ample time to respond to these questions before publishing them;
  4. Even though there is significant cost to us in analyzing these case studies and posting these questions, and significant value to the perpetrators in being able to identify and correct their mistakes and not mislead their prospects and customers (and hence avoid the possibility of embarrassment or even a lawsuit down the road), we do not charge for this service – the perpetrators may respond gratis during that week.  After one week, they may still respond, but there is a charge.
  5. Uniquely, we also offered these organizations $1000, payable to them or their favorite charity, to answer these questions honestly.  This is probably the first time in history that anyone has offered bribes to people to simply tell the truth.
Several companies are already included.  Only one has chosen to respond thus far.

Readers can also submit nominations.


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