California Could Save $1B Annually in Health Treatment, Report Finds
Californians could save more than $1 billion annually if health care providers eliminated unnecessary treatments, prescribed less expensive prescription drugs and reduced other wasteful practices, according to a report released Wednesday by the California Public Interest Research Group, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
CALPIRG reviewed the treatments given to Medicare beneficiaries with chronic illnesses statewide and found that $700 million could be saved each year if physicians and hospitals followed medical organizations' best practice standards.
The study looked at spending during Medicare beneficiaries' last two years of life on a regional level and rated hospitals in the Sacramento area as the most efficient for spending on average $26,000 per Medicare beneficiary in the final two years of life. Los Angeles area hospitals were rated least efficient, with average spending of $43,500.
Pedro Morillas, a spokesperson for CALPIRG, said more efficient hospitals and physicians in San Diego and Sacramento are better at limiting administrative costs, avoiding unnecessary tests and treatments, and releasing patients from the hospital as soon as possible (Darcé, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/9).