Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

U.S. Seeks Ways to Reduce Excessive Medical Testing
Insurance Journal ^ | Feb 17, 2012 | Debra Sherman

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 ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: health; medicine; obamacare; rationing; socializedmedicine
Translation: RATION testing.

Why don't we just withhold medical care from all sick people -- just think how much money THAT will save. (sarcasm, of course)

1 posted on 02/17/2012 11:57:36 AM PST by Innovative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Innovative

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!)


2 posted on 02/17/2012 11:59:57 AM PST by Innovative (Weakness is provocative.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

It’s all defensive medicine. This is a legal issue, not a medical issue.


3 posted on 02/17/2012 12:01:14 PM PST by 17th Miss Regt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

“U.S. Seeks Ways to Reduce Excessive Medical Testing”

Uhhh.... Yeah...
A Medical Liability Attorney’s wet dream.


4 posted on 02/17/2012 12:03:13 PM PST by tcrlaf (Election 2012: THE RAPTURE OF THE DEMOCRATS)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

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.


5 posted on 02/17/2012 12:05:28 PM PST by green iguana
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 17th Miss Regt

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.


6 posted on 02/17/2012 12:07:01 PM PST by Innovative (Weakness is provocative.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: 17th Miss Regt
“It’s all defensive medicine. This is a legal issue, not a medical issue”

Exactly, reduce the Medical cost but increase the litigation. Bambi taking care of his Lawyer Homies.

7 posted on 02/17/2012 12:08:49 PM PST by DAC21
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

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.


8 posted on 02/17/2012 12:11:46 PM PST by kenmcg (How)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative
Two words:

Tort reform.

Howabout:

Loser Pays.

9 posted on 02/17/2012 12:12:10 PM PST by grobdriver (Proud Member, Party Of No! No Socialism - No Fascism - Nobama - No Way!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

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.


10 posted on 02/17/2012 12:13:00 PM PST by Pollster1 (Natural born citizen of the USA, with the birth certificate to prove it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative
“I don’t trust professional societies to do it because that’s how they make money – by doing tests and procedures,” said MIT healthcare economist Dr. Jonathan Gruber.

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.

11 posted on 02/17/2012 12:13:31 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

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.


12 posted on 02/17/2012 12:13:36 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative

MIT produces wonderful technology. Its humanities suck, they are inhumane.


13 posted on 02/17/2012 12:14:58 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

This could be solved overnight by tort reform and cracking down on self-referral.


14 posted on 02/17/2012 12:19:09 PM PST by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative
There is a very easy way; kill all the trial lawyers.

And I am not being sarcastic.

15 posted on 02/17/2012 12:20:20 PM PST by Joe the Pimpernel (Should a constitution protect government from the individual, or the individual from government?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative
For years, spine surgeons treated certain types of back pain by fusing the front and the back of two disks, which for billing purposes were two separate procedures, he said. Today, guidelines recommend fusing either the front or the back of the disks, not both.

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.

16 posted on 02/17/2012 12:21:05 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

If you get true Tort Reform, they wouldn’t have to test as much.


17 posted on 02/17/2012 12:21:40 PM PST by richardtavor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ccmay; Innovative
This could be solved overnight by tort reform and cracking down on self-referral.

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.

18 posted on 02/17/2012 12:26:49 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Innovative
It is easy for a patient who is covered by insurance to get pulled into this “therapeutic cascade,” she said. It usually starts with screening and frequently leads to more tests, and often unnecessary medical procedures and drugs.

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.

19 posted on 02/17/2012 12:35:07 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

Tort reform . . .


20 posted on 02/17/2012 12:48:56 PM PST by RatRipper (I'll ride a turtle to work every day before I buy anything from Government Motors.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

To hell with testing! Fire up the 0BAMA DEATH PANELS!


21 posted on 02/17/2012 12:58:58 PM PST by The Sons of Liberty (Psalm 109:8 Let his days be few and let another take his office. - Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative
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.

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?

22 posted on 02/17/2012 12:59:50 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: RatRipper

“Tort reform . . .”

And term limits.


23 posted on 02/17/2012 1:00:02 PM PST by EQAndyBuzz (Most Conservative in the Primary, the Republican Nominee in the General.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

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.


24 posted on 02/17/2012 1:01:48 PM PST by heartwood
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

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.


25 posted on 02/17/2012 1:02:56 PM PST by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DuncanWaring

“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.


26 posted on 02/17/2012 1:07:52 PM PST by Innovative (Weakness is provocative.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: 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.

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.

27 posted on 02/17/2012 1:10:23 PM PST by DustyMoment (Congress - Another name for white collar criminals!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

So you’re saying that we could save money by regularly testing everyone for all known treatable medical conditions?


28 posted on 02/17/2012 1:13:00 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: DuncanWaring
How about an X-Prize for an MRI replacement that costs 10% of the current one?

Can we innovate our way to better and cheaper and less invasive testing methods?

29 posted on 02/17/2012 1:17:22 PM PST by Glenn (iamtheresistance.org)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

70 or older? Handicapped? No tests for you.


30 posted on 02/17/2012 1:19:06 PM PST by SaraJohnson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative
Hey, I think everyone should get tested as often and for as many conditios as they like, provided they pay for it out of their own pockets.

Remember, there is no "right" to health care funded by confiscating someone else's income.

31 posted on 02/17/2012 1:23:53 PM PST by Notary Sojac (A liberal, a conservative, and a moderate walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Hi. Mitt!!".)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DuncanWaring

“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.


32 posted on 02/17/2012 1:28:15 PM PST by Innovative (Weakness is provocative.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

We're also going to try to replace some of our older servers and failing equipment this year so we're going to add a little extra to our FReepathon goals. John is estimating ten to fifteen thousand to do this and I'd like to get it all in place and working before the election cycle is fully heated up, so we'll try to bring in a little more now if we can and the rest next quarter.
Jim Robinson


Click The Server To Donate

Support Activist Free Republic

33 posted on 02/17/2012 1:28:21 PM PST by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SaraJohnson
70 or older? Handicapped? No tests for you.

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!!!

34 posted on 02/17/2012 1:37:09 PM PST by Night Hides Not (My dream ticket for 2012 is John Galt & Dagny Taggart!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Innovative
You are being ridiculous and you know it.

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?"?

35 posted on 02/17/2012 1:50:23 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: DuncanWaring

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.


36 posted on 02/17/2012 2:02:28 PM PST by Innovative (Weakness is provocative.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

I have a question. Which is worse high cholesterol or high BP?


37 posted on 02/17/2012 2:04:15 PM PST by eyedigress ((Old storm chaser from the west)/?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Innovative

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.


38 posted on 02/17/2012 2:18:45 PM PST by RoadTest (There is one god, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Innovative
People get tested when they show certain symptoms and doctors are trying to find what is causing them.

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?

39 posted on 02/17/2012 2:22:27 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: DuncanWaring
I have to agree somewhat with your argument. All my life after my car accident when I was 18 it was all about my back injury. Never did have the surgery they recommended because I kept on moving. Funny thing when I reached 50 something horrible happened. I stopped being able to walk. Never did anyone think to do anymore than an MRI on my back. Last year I suspected something more and demanded an Xray. 90% of the ball joint of my hip had was gone! Death sentence for sure. Well, last year I had a successful replacement but somehow I wonder why it came to this destruction of a perfectly good hip had they found the injury 37 YEARS AGO!

Testing is a very good thing. Just do it correctly.

40 posted on 02/17/2012 3:02:45 PM PST by poobear
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: poobear

Are you saying your hip problem might be due to the back injury?


41 posted on 02/17/2012 3:23:21 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: DuncanWaring
Maybe. Somebody missed something. I have no back pain finally after nearly an entire lifetime. Hip replacement cured my back pain. Right now it is a joke with my doctor. I see him in April. It is no longer a joke. I remember one time an intern said that the area I was pointing to wasn't the hip. Go figure, it was right there where the disintegrated ball joint was all along.
42 posted on 02/17/2012 8:07:02 PM PST by poobear
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: 17th Miss Regt

Bingo. Dead on. Pass malpractice caps and you will see a decline in testing.


43 posted on 02/17/2012 8:10:33 PM PST by Wyatt's Torch (I can explain it to you. I can't understand it for you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

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.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson