Calif. Medical Schools Adding Care Cost, Value Courses to Curricula
Medical schools in California and other states increasingly are including lessons in their curricula on how to discuss costs, value and effectiveness with patients, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports.
An Association of American Medical Colleges survey found that:
- 129 of 140 medical schools said they required a course on the cost of health care during the 2013-2014 school year; and
- About 40% of the medical schools said they offer elective courses on the issue.
According to "KPCC News," the change has been spurred by the Affordable Care Act's emphasis on value-based payments, as well as a more cost-conscious population of consumers.
Efforts in California
In Southern California, several medical schools and residency programs have started developing ways to integrate cost lessons in their curricula, "KPCC News" reports.
- The University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine since 2012 has offered a business of medicine class; and
- UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine started incorporating cost-related lessons into daily classes in 2014 and plans to do so on a larger scale this year.
Reshma Gupta, who is leading the effort to include health care cost lessons in UCLA's curricula, said, "In the everyday teaching they get about clinical medicine, what medications to prescribe, what's the name of this diagnosis, we're going to add a layer to every discussion about the value part of that as well."
However, medical schools face several challenges when including courses about health care costs, according to "KPCC News."
For example, some students have pushed back because of their already busy schedules.
Paul Lyons, senior associate dean of education at the UC-Riverside School of Medicine, said, "They're so busy trying to master the basics of medicine, the science and the interpersonal skills, that I think it feels sometimes like this is one more issue they're being asked to master, when they have so much on their plate already."
Meanwhile, Gupta noted that some older doctors may be hesitant to adopt the new approach because it was not what they initially were taught (Plevin, "KPCC News," KPCC, 8/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.