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Health care's big money wasters

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Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 126
Health care's big money wasters PostMon Aug 10, 2009 1:27 pm  Reply with quote  

This is a perfect example of how we as a nation are wasting money - and they CONTINUE TO LET IT HAPPEN!!! Complete insanity.


More than $1.2 trillion spent on health care each year is a waste of money. Members of the medical community identify the leading causes.

By Parija B. Kavilanz, senior writer
August 10, 2009

Down the drain: $1.2 trillion.

That's half of the $2.2 trillion the United States spends on health care each year, according to the most recent data from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute. The report identified 16 different areas in which health care dollars are squandered.

What counts as waste? As policymakers continue to debate the extent and timing of health care reform, spoke with doctors, nurses, hospital groups and patient advocacy groups to find out.

Too many tests

Doctors ordering tests or procedures not based on need but concern over liability or increasing their income is the biggest waste of health care dollars, costing the system at least $210 billion a year, according to the report. The problem is called "defensive medicine."

Those annoying claim forms

Inefficient claims processing is the second-biggest area of wasteful expenditure, costing as much as $210 billion annually, the PricewaterhouseCoopers report said. Every insurance company has its own forms. Some practices spend 40% of their revenue filling out paperwork that has nothing to do with patient care. Much of this could be automated.

Using the Emergency Room as a clinic

More insured and uninsured consumers are getting their primary care in emergency rooms, wasting $14 billion every year in health care spending. Since emergency rooms are legally obligated to treat all patients, providers ultimately find ways to pass on the cost for treating the uninsured to other patients, such as to those who pay out-of-pocket for their medical care.

Medical "Oops"

Medical errors are costing the industry $17 billion a year in wasted expenses, something that makes patient advocacy groups irate. Processes such as computerized order entry for drugs and use of electronic health records (EHR) could help ensure that patients get the correct dosage of medications in hospitals. The stimulus bill calls for the government to take a leading role in developing standards by 2010 to facilitate the adoption of health information exchanges across the system, including patient electronic health records by 2014.

Going back to the hospital

Processes such as computerized order entry for drugs and use of electronic health records (EHR) could help ensure that patients get the correct dosage of medications in hospitals. Many times, patients also don't follow instructions for care after discharge so complications arise and they are readmitted in a week.

You forgot to wash your hands!

Those dispensers of hand sanitizer are in hospitals for a reason: PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that about $3 billion is wasted every year as a result of infections acquired during hospital stays.
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