KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Digital Mammograms May Not Be Better At Diagnosing Older Women: Study

The Yale review adds to the mixed report card on digital mammography, reports NPR. Meanwhile, big increases in vaccination prices are straining public health budgets and creating dilemmas for some doctors, finds The New York Times.

NPR: Costlier Digital Mammograms May Not Be Better For Older Women
According to the Yale review of the data, the use of digital mammograms and of computer-aided detection increased nationally from around two percent to 30 percent between 2000 and 2010. As a result, the cost per screening mammogram rose from $75 to $101 during this period. They estimated that for each Medicare recipient, the average cost of all screening-related tests, including follow-up biopsies, MRIs, and ultrasounds, increased from $76 to $112 during the time period. Almost all of that increase in cost came from digital mammography and computer-aided detection. But switching to the more expensive technology didn't seem to help doctors spot cancer (Manke, 7/2).

The New York Times: The Price Of Prevention: Vaccine Costs Are Soaring
Vaccination prices have gone from single digits to sometimes triple digits in the last two decades, creating dilemmas for doctors and their patients as well as straining public health budgets. Here in San Antonio and elsewhere, some doctors have stopped offering immunizations because they say they cannot afford to buy these potentially lifesaving preventive treatments that insurers often reimburse poorly, sometimes even at a loss (Rosenthal, 7/2).

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