Home > Audits and Billing Issues, Fraud and Abuse, Healthcare Business, Improving Healthcare, Insurance > Manoj Jain: Doctors need to eliminate waste from healthcare — Memphis Commercial Appeal

Manoj Jain: Doctors need to eliminate waste from healthcare — Memphis Commercial Appeal

Dr. Manoj Jain is an infectious disease physician and also writes for The Washington Post. His articles can be seen on MJainMD.com.

Thirty percent of health care spending — amounting to $750 billion a year — is wasted, according to a recent report by the Institute of Medicine.

I know. As a doctor, I am party to this waste, and I think doctors can play a major role in recovering it.

In a private conversation, a cardiologist tells me about his partners — “loose guns” he calls them. “At the hint of chest pain they will do a cardiac cath and this makes everyone happy,” he says. The patient feels good that something was done, the doctor gains certainty of his presumptive diagnosis and the hospital makes money. While it may seem like a win-win-win, in fact, we all lose as the health care expenditure tops $2 trillion, siphoning funds from education, housing and business innovation.

The IOM report notes that unnecessary services are responsible for nearly a third, or $210 billion, of wasted expenditure.

I, too, order excessive services like CT and MRI scans, without regard to cost. Often these services are in the gray zone of medicine where it is unclear if some procedures are really necessary.

When we doctors talk about waste, we often beat around the bush. We know the system is full of waste, but when confronted we blame the patients or malpractice attorneys.

There is another less-talked-about reason for unnecessary services. One person’s waste is another person’s income. Another cardiac catherization, another back surgery means more income for doctors, hospitals and the health care system and its archaic administrative services.

To reduce waste, doctors need to become integral partners in the cost-cutting process.

See on www.commercialappeal.com

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

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