Under the premise that the most ideal way to save Medicare is to pay for things that improve health and stop paying for things that don’t, Health Affairs met at Capitol Hill to discuss this in the briefing called “Saving Medicare Dollars and Improving Care,” sponsored by the ABIM Foundation. The purpose was to come up with suggestions that would  improve patient care while actually decreasing the amount of spending for health care.

(for those unfamiliar with Health Affairs- it is a peer-reviewed healthcare journal, described by The Washington Post as “the bible of health policy”. It is abstracted and indexed in PubMed, MEDLINE and many other well recognized sites.)

CEO of the American College of Physicians and Executive Vice President, Dr. Steve Weinberger outlined a   “less is more”  approach in his guide to decrease buy ventolin nebules 5mg online unnecessary procedures in medical care:

  • Avoid interventions that don’t help and may harm
  • Give incentives to physicians and patients to avoid low value care
  • Use payment approaches that are politically feasible, medically appropriate and minimally burdensome
  • Recognize that there will always be exceptions
The discussion progressed to surgeries for which no strong evidence demonstrates benefit such as:
  • back surgeries (which open the patient to risk)
  • cardiac bypass when unwarranted
  • Diagnostic imaging that is duplicated and exposes the patient to unnecessary cancer-causing radiation risk
Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Nancy Morioka-Douglas suggested seven often needless procedures in primary care such as EKGs in asymptomatic patients.
Despite shared decision-making with patients for their care, the burden of reform can not be shouldered by them alone. Leadership by doctors is crucial.  The time has come.