Unnecessary Surgeries? You Bet! Doctors Treat Patients as ATMs; US Healthcare System Explained in Six Succinct Points

There is little to no incentive in the healthcare industry to hold down costs. Worse yet, the rewards for performing unnecessary surgeries is huge, while the risks of doing them are essentially nonexistent. Here are a couple of articles that show what I mean.

Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy Rises as Doctors Profit

Bloomberg reports Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy Rises as Doctors Profit.
 Urologists who buy their own equipment to provide expensive radiation treatment are more likely to use it to treat prostate cancer even when the benefit for patients is unclear, research shows.

 Prostate cancer is the most common tumor diagnosed in the U.S., where an estimated 238,590 men were told they had the disease this year. While only about 12 percent, or 29,270 men, will die from it this year, all will have to decide how, and whether, they want to treat the cancer.

 A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that profits urologists make from referring patients to their own radiation facilities play an outsized role in the treatment decisions. One third of men whose doctors own radiation equipment get the therapy at a cost of about $35,000 per treatment course. The same doctors prescribed the therapy for just 13 percent of their patients before they had their own equipment and could profit directly.

 “The results are striking,” said Jean Mitchell, the author of the report and a professor of public policy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. “It does appear that what’s driving this is financial incentives linked to ownership. Their behavior changes dramatically.” Continue reading

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