Unnecessary Medical Care: More Common Than You Might Think


From NPR: A recent report by the Washington Health Alliance has helped to quantify the epidemic of medical overtreatment and healthcare waste.

“What the group found should cause both doctors, and their patients, to rethink that next referral. In a single year:

  • More than 600,000 patients underwent a treatment they didn’t need, treatments that collectively cost an estimated $282 million.
  • More than a third of the money spent on the 47 tests or services went to unnecessary care.
  • 3 in 4 annual cervical cancer screenings were performed on women who had adequate prior screenings – at a cost of $19 million.
  • About 85 percent of the lab tests to prep healthy patients for low-risk surgery were unnecessary — squandering about $86 million.
  • Needless annual heart tests on low-risk patients consumed $40 million.”

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  1. Most of the psychiatric armamentum would qualify as “unnecessary care.” But if you pay people to prescribe drugs, they’ll prescribe drugs. If you pay people to do tests, they’ll do tests. For profit healthcare is problematic, because as soon as the need for profit drives care, then we receive what is profitable, not what is actually helpful to us. Something’s got to change!

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