Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beneficial Care

Technology must be used wisely. There are instances where the application of procedures, for example heart catheterization and stents in selected patients, are extremely helpful. However, medical treatments are all too often employed when they are not indicated which neither helps and even harms the patient. This practice wastes Medicare resources. For example, it is estimated that up to 30% of all Medicare costs are spent on procedures and therapies that are not helpful. Procedures and tests such as heart stents, CAT scans, MRIs and intensive care, while in many circumstances appropriate, are frequently not necessary, with no chance of benefit to the patient. Refining Medicare to reduce excessive procedures and expenditures would eliminate the need to cut benefits to seniors. The PPACA, recently passed by Congress, is primarily funded by progressive decreases in Medicare payments which will result in significant decreases in care. This would not be necessary if we practiced thoughtful beneficial care.

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