Shared Responsibility: Doctors Energize Effort to Manage Health Costs

Posted by Rick Lord on Apr 4, 2012, 1:19:00 PM

Bravo to a large group of the nation’s doctors for joining the effort to reduce the growth of medical spending, improve care and shrink the estimated 30 percent waste in the health delivery system.

Health cost controlThe Boston Globe today reports on a study by nine leading medical specialty societies identifying 45 widely-performed tests and procedures that are usually unnecessary, wasteful, and potentially damaging to patients’ health. Dr. Christine Cassel, president of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, acknowledges that 30 percent of the money Americans spend on health care is wasteful.

“It isn’t just about cost, it’s about putting patients at risk,’’ Cassel told the Globe.

The study supports AIM’s recent call to reduce the growth of medical spending in Massachusetts to two percentage points below the growth in the overall state economy within three years. The effort by doctors to reduce the use of ineffective tests is an example of the principle of shared responsibility that must be central to successful health care reform – in this case by providing useful information that can provide the basis for meaningful discussion and informed decisions by physicians and patients. 

AIM set a clear and aggressive cost-control objective because we believe it is the only way to end the run-up in health insurance costs that has depressed job growth for more than a decade.  The average cost paid by employers and workers to insure a single Massachusetts family though a health maintenance organization now stands at $15,864, according to the 2012 AIM Benefits Survey.

Today the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, the nine medical specialty societies and Consumer Reports are formally launching the Choosing Wisely® campaign, which seeks “to help spark conversations between physicians and patients about the need —or lack thereof— for many frequently ordered tests or treatments.”

Topics: Health Care Costs, Issues

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