Skip to comments.U.S. Seeks Ways to Reduce Excessive Medical Testing
Posted on 02/17/2012 11:57:29 AM PST by Innovative
A leading group of U.S. doctors is trying to tackle the costly problem of excessive medical testing, hoping to avoid more government intervention in how they practice.
The American College of Physicians (ACP), the largest U.S. medical specialty group, is rolling out guidelines to help doctors better identify when patients should screen for specific diseases and when they can be spared the cost, and potentially invasive procedures that follow.
Many individual U.S. medical centers have launched their own efforts to build a protocol of patient care in fields such as diabetes or obstetrics, but the ACP effort has the potential to influence doctors nationally. ACP members include more than 132,000 physicians, mainly focused on internal medicine.
"Excessive testing costs $200 billion to $250 billion (per year)," Dr. Steven Weinberger, CEO of ACP said in an interview from his office in Philadelphia. "There's an overuse of imaging studies, CT scans for lung disease, overuse of routine electrocardiograms and other cardiac tests such as stress testing."
(Excerpt) Read more at insurancejournal.com ...
Why don't we just withhold medical care from all sick people -- just think how much money THAT will save. (sarcasm, of course)
Another priceless quote from the article:
“Health economists and other policy advisers question whether doctors can be trusted to make the right calls.”
Yes, we should trust bureaucrats more to make the right decisions about our healthcare, than trained medical doctors! (more sarcasm — but they are actually serious about this!)
It’s all defensive medicine. This is a legal issue, not a medical issue.
“U.S. Seeks Ways to Reduce Excessive Medical Testing”
A Medical Liability Attorney’s wet dream.
No, no rationing required. Docs do many unnecessary tests these days out of fear of being sued. Solid tort reform would take care of that problem.
Good luck with that.
So why not reform the legal system and let the doctors practice medicine?
Also — testing saves lives. If you don’t test, many deadly or at least serious diseases are not uncovered until it’s too late, not to mention, that by then the treatments are more expensive and less helpful.
The emphasis should be on testing, to discover diseases early, when they are more treatable, and less expensive to treat. The cost of testing is nothing in comparison to the cost of treatment when diseases are discovered in more advanced stages, because there was no testing early enough.
Exactly, reduce the Medical cost but increase the litigation. Bambi taking care of his Lawyer Homies.
Its called “DEATH PANELS”.If you’re 90 they’ll make you comfortable, if you’re 75 or over life saving techniques will be limited, if you’re obese, a smoker, diabetic or bad heart, liver or kidney you got big problems. Of course none of these rules will affect the bureaucrats. And sure enough they’ll be rewarded with another four years to further destroy the constitution.
It’s not really a Death Panel, it’s just a way of ensuring that tests are allocated to those for whom they are cost effective.
I don't trust MIT economists to make those decisions, because they are flaming leftists. I've taken classes from MIT trained economists, so I know what I'm talking about.
Trying to get ahead of the juggernaut.
Of course, today sometimes there is a temptation to over-test because of a different juggernaut. I don’t think Obamacare intends to do anything about that — why should a Ratly plan steal business from shysters? Putting doctors between a rock and a hard place.
MIT produces wonderful technology. Its humanities suck, they are inhumane.
This could be solved overnight by tort reform and cracking down on self-referral.
And I am not being sarcastic.
Spinal fusion is a last resort operation. It's usually not done unless more conservative options have failed. I'd rather the surgeon make the decision about how to do the operation rather than some think tank and government bureaucrats thousands of miles away.
If you get true Tort Reform, they wouldn’t have to test as much.
What's wrong with physicians owning testing facilities? Congressman Stark who is a raving lunatic wants physicians to just be serfs who work for the government and don't own anything.
I have a large annual deductible and an HSA. I don't go to my doctor just for the hell of it. In fact my previous doctor destroyed all my medical records when I didn't see him for 7 years.
Tort reform . . .
To hell with testing! Fire up the 0BAMA DEATH PANELS!
Except that if you're testing for a condition that only one person in a 1000 has, you've paid for needlessly testing 999 people to find that 1-in-a-1000 person.
How much does it cost to test those 999?
“Tort reform . . .”
And term limits.
Testing can take lives too. Sure, testing vials of blood for everything under the sun will most likely cost nothing but money.
But CAT scans? Exploratory surgery? There are risks.
A real life example of an what turned out to be an unnecessary work-up with significant risks along the way, a search to see if new hypertension is secondary to another cause. Patient has MRI with gadolinium contrast (rare risk of scleroderma-like illness). MRI reveals adrenal mass of intermediate size - should be monitored. MRI also reveals possible malformation of renal arteries. Patient undergoes blood and urine testing to see if adrenal mass is functional - it is not. Patient opts to have adrenal gland removed rather than face monitoring over the years. (Anesthesia, surgical, infectious risk). Mass is benign. Patient opts to have further exploration of arterial malformation, via an arteriogram with iodine contrast die through the femoral artery. (Allergy risk, bleeding risk, infection risk, radiation exposure - cancer risk.) Arterial malformation revealed to be an artifact of MRI. No cause found for hypertension, hypertension responds well to medication and eventually requires lower doses. Patient could have lived out life in safe ignorance.
The easy way for the administration to fund Obama care would be to deny anyone over the age of 60 diagnostic services.That way they will be that much sicker and die quicker.
After all we’ll all have to take that blue pill eventually.There won’t be enough money on earth to fund that plan.
“Except that if you’re testing for a condition that only one person in a 1000 has, you’ve paid for needlessly testing 999 people to find that 1-in-a-1000 person.”
And how would you feel to be that 1-in-1000 person who doesn’t get tested and might die as a result?
That’s why they are called tests — to test and FIND OUT, whether people have a particular illness or are all right.
I suppose you are against testing for breast cancer, prostate cancer, etc — since it’s negative for most people who are being tested. Let’s just have those, whose cancer could be found early by testing just go off and die — or discover it way late and spend huge amounts of money treating them, when they could have been saved by less suffering and less costly medical procedures, if their cancer would have been found early.
Here's a simple way to avoid costly excessive medical testing - cut the number of lawyers filing malpractice suits to a total of 5 per month . . . . . . . NATIONWIDE!!!!!
If lawyers can't chase ambulances, they may have to find a different source of deep pockets.
Politicians come to mind. They can sue them as often as they like for fraud and malfeasance.
So you’re saying that we could save money by regularly testing everyone for all known treatable medical conditions?
Can we innovate our way to better and cheaper and less invasive testing methods?
70 or older? Handicapped? No tests for you.
Remember, there is no "right" to health care funded by confiscating someone else's income.
“So you’re saying that we could save money by regularly testing everyone for all known treatable medical conditions?”
You are being ridiculous and you know it.
May you never have some medical condition that gets discovered too late to be treatable, because doctors withold testing from you.
Tests save lives and save medical costs, by discovering illnesses while they are still treatable and treatable at a lower cost. Cutting down on testing would result in diseases being discovered later, when their treatments would cost more and of course more people would die, but I suppose you would prefer that — as long as it’s not you, I am sure, but if it were you, I bet you want to have the tests to discover what causes your symptoms and get treatment.
One obvious example is cholesterol tests and treatment. It not only saves lives, but it’s cost effective, because it prevents heart attacks, which kill people or leave them severely disabled, not to mention the cost of treating a heart attack vs. the cost of paying for cholesterol lowering pills.
LOL! I think you forgot the "sarcasm" tag.
Too late! Your post is bookmarked over at DU and Kos.
...and you probably feed your aged mother cat food and kibbles.
Off, OFF Damned Sarcasm!!!
Not at all.
"High cholesterol" is fairly common, and cholesterol tests are inexpensive.
Other conditions are less common, and testing is more expensive.
What's your rule on "Who gets screened for what?"?
People get tested when they show certain symptoms and doctors are trying to find what is causing them.
You are the only one who is talking about “screening”, i.e. testing everyone for everything. Nobody is advocating that.
Doctors should be allowed to practice medicine and use their best judgment, discussing it with their patients, and deciding what test, procedures, etc. to perform.
Are you in favor of some panel telling the doctors what tests they are allowed to perform?
Looks like you seem to agree with this statement in the article that “policy advisors “ should decide what tests doctors can order, not the doctors:
“Health economists and other policy advisers question whether doctors can be trusted to make the right calls.”
Why even have doctors? Let’s just have some “administrators” determine what test and treatments people can have.
I have a question. Which is worse high cholesterol or high BP?
Diagnosis is based on the Doctor’s information about the body’s malfunction. Tests can increase the doctor’s knowledge of the problem and clarify the situation.
Prohibiting tests ties the physician’s hands.
You are the one claiming "The emphasis should be on testing, to discover diseases early, when they are more treatable, and less expensive to treat. "
Is the testing to be done before the symptoms appear, or after?
Testing is a very good thing. Just do it correctly.
Are you saying your hip problem might be due to the back injury?
Bingo. Dead on. Pass malpractice caps and you will see a decline in testing.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.