Welcome

Thank you for visiting paducahsun.com, the online home of The Paducah Sun.

Calendar
June 2012
S M T W T F S
27 28 29 30 31 01 02

Click here to submit an event.

Overtreating Medicare patients may cost billions

Associated Press

CHICAGO  - A new study suggests that in a single year, up to 42 percent of Medicare patients got at least one medical procedure they didn't need - overtreatment that cost as much as $8 billion.

The treatments included prostate cancer screening for men beyond the age most experts recommend, and imaging tests in older women for osteoporosis at too frequent intervals. The treatments also included invasive heart and kidney procedures that research has shown are no better than medicine.

What's new: The findings are in an analysis of Medicare claims data for 1.3 million patients in 2009. The researchers devised a list of 26 "low-value" procedures they determined reflect likely overuse. The list was compiled from research evidence and recommendations from several medical groups.

Lead author Aaron Schwartz of Harvard Medical School's health care policy department and colleagues acknowledged that Medicare claims may lack details about patients that might justify some procedures. But using more conservative criteria, they still found that 25 percent of patients received at least one wasteful service, totaling almost $2 billion.

The results, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, are only a snapshot and the researchers said there are likely many other procedures that are sometimes performed with little benefit for Medicare patients.

"We hope that development of better measures of low-value care will ultimately spur development of interventions to reduce unnecessary care," the journal editors wrote in an editorial.

The context: A 2012 Institute of Medicine report on overall U.S. health spending concluded that about 30 percent, or $750 billion, reflects overtreatment, excessive costs and other problems.

The new study also follows the government's release last month of Medicare billing records for 880,000 physicians and other health care providers, data that consumer advocates and others said might indicate whether some doctors are providing quality cost-effective care or ordering needless services. That data revealed vast differences in Medicare payments, and an agency administrator said Medicare would look into doctors and others who received huge reimbursements.

Reasons and reactions: The authors said it's not clear why doctors may be ordering needless services, but that sometimes patients may demand procedures they mistakenly think will benefit them.

Doctors also get paid more for ordering more procedures. And fear of malpractice lawsuits is also often cited as contributing to overtreatment.

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Your comment has been submitted for approval
captcha 27caca86daff4a1abe81cfd88b5dc314
Top Classifieds
  • Toy Schnauzer Parti Pup, $1200270-252 ... Details
  • Great Pyrenees Puppies, $150 ea., cal ... Details
  • Happy Jack Flea Powder: pour on fire ... Details
  • HAVANESE PUPS AKC Home Raised, Best H ... Details
  • Golden doodle Pups 5.5wks old CKC, Sh ... Details
  • Tiny Imperial Shih-Tzu Pup, $500270-2 ... Details
  • 60 acres Farm in Reidland 270-554-150 ... Details
  • 2010 Clayton 16x80 LIKE NEW! 270-489- ... Details
  • FAIRHURST BUILDING Professional ... Details
  • SEEING is believing! Don't b ... Details
  • 2010 K Z Spree Travel Trailer, exc. c ... Details

Most Popular
  1. People and Business
  2. Manage mosquitoes while enjoying the great outdoors
  3. Paducah Jobs
  1. Paducah area has commonwealth's biggest income gap
  2. Ham radio operators focus on community with field day
  3. People and Business
  1. People and Business
  2. Manage mosquitoes while enjoying the great outdoors
  3. Paducah Jobs
Discussion

Check out these recently discussed stories and voice your opinion...