Unnecessary Treatments, Tests Cost $6.8B in 2009
In 2009, unnecessary treatments and screenings resulted in about $6.8 billion in medical costs, according to a study published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine. For the study, physicians at Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Weill Cornell Medical College examined the cost of common medical practices that a previous study by the Good Stewardship Working Group found were overused. The new study found that complete blood cell counts were ordered in about 56% of routine physical exams, which accounted for about $32.7 million in unnecessary costs. Physicians ordering brand-name statins before using generic drugs accounted for about $5.8 billion in unnecessary costs. The researchers cited physician training, defensive medicine and patient expectations as reasons for inappropriate treatments and testing.
- "Doctors Estimate $6.8 Billion in Unnecessary Medical Tests" (Andrews, Kaiser Health News/Washington Post, 10/31).