skip to main content

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

Florida faces lawsuits over its new election law, a medical board fines an Indiana doctor for speaking about a 10-year-old's abortion, and Minnesota advocates say threats to cut SNAP funds are off the mark.

play newscast audioPlay

The White House and Speaker McCarthy gain support to pass their debt ceiling agreement, former President Donald Trump retakes the lead in a new GOP primary poll, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is impeached.

play newscast audioPlay

The growing number of "maternity care deserts" makes having a baby increasingly dangerous for rural Americans, a Colorado project is connecting neighbor to neighbor in an effort to help those suffering with mental health issues, and a school district in Maine is using teletherapy to tackle a similar challenge.

Report: Use of Low-Value Health Services High Even During Pandemic

play audio
Play

Monday, May 16, 2022   

During the first year of the global pandemic, medical consumers in Colorado received more than one million low-value healthcare services - diagnostic tests, screenings and treatments where the risk of harm outweighs any likely benefit to the patient.

Cari Frank, vice president for communications with the Center for Improving Value in HealthCare - the group behind a new report, said consumers and insurers paid $134 million for these services in 2020.

"Even in spite of COVID, when people weren't accessing health-care services the same way," said Frank, "we still saw high numbers of these low-value care services. And they cost a lot of money, both to the health plans and to the patient, and actually can cause harm to patients."

The most obvious example of low-value care is when providers prescribe opioids for acute back pain without first trying alternative medication - a remedy that comes with significant risk of addiction and even death.

Health providers across the nation, working with medical boards and other professional associations, have created a list and guidelines for low-value services through an initiative called Choosing Wisely.

Frank said getting the word out can help bring down overall health costs. She said many services now considered low-value care were considered best practices at one time.

"A lot of things are just, historically, the way the provider has treated patients," said Frank. "And it takes a while when the guidelines change, for there to be an actual adoption of the guidelines."

The average cost for low-value services is $130 - but some, including peripheral catheters for patients with late-stage kidney disease, cost more than $14,000 per incidence.

Frank noted that every patient is different, and some procedures flagged as low-value may actually be the right course for patients.

"There might be family history, or there might be medical history where they have tried some other alternative," said Frank. "So there still needs to be that kind of communication between the provider and the patient."




Disclosure: Center for Improving Value in HealthCare contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Florida's newest elections law requires that third-party voter registration groups provide mandatory formal signature-matching training to specified persons by the Florida Secretary of State. (Pixabay)

Social Issues

play sound

The moment Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a sweeping elections bill into law last week, several voter-advocacy groups filed lawsuits against it…


Health and Wellness

play sound

An Indiana licensing board has fined a local physician $3,000 and handed her a letter of reprimand after she went public about a 10-year-old Ohio pati…

Social Issues

play sound

Groups fighting for children's health are asking Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers to require insurance companies to cover hearing aids and related …


There used to be twice as many marshes and wetlands in Pennsylvania as there are today, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. (Christina Saymansky/Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

From conservation to sportsmen's groups, the U.S. Supreme Court is getting plenty of backlash over its most recent ruling, which weakens federal …

Social Issues

play sound

Rural Nebraska could lose on two fronts if two of Gov. Jim Pillen's budget vetoes are allowed to stand. Pillen struck down a second year of …

Smaller and mid-sized farms say due to market concentration and supply-chain issues within agriculture have made it much harder to get their foods to various markets, including schools and restaurants within their own regions. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Rural development leaders say getting healthy, locally grown food to underserved areas is a challenge in states like North Dakota. They hope a new …

Health and Wellness

play sound

A new report spotlights some of the challenges to accessing behavioral health care for the one in seven Americans who live in rural areas. Kendall …

Social Issues

play sound

On Wednesday, Xcel Energy customers will have a chance to tell the Colorado Public Utilities Commission what they think about the company's request - …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021