KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Doctors’ Efforts To Cut Unnecessary Procedures Is A Good First Step

Several news outlets look at the initiative by nine physicians' groups to identify medical procedures which are frequently unneeded and could even be harmful.

The New York Times: Do You Need That Test?
If health care costs are ever to be brought under control, the nation's doctors will have to play a leading role in eliminating unnecessary treatments. By some estimates, hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted this way every year. So it is highly encouraging that nine major physicians' groups have identified 45 tests and procedures (five for each specialty) that are commonly used but have no proven benefit for many patients and sometimes cause more harm than good (4/8).

Huffington Post: "Choosing Wisely": Physicians Step To The Front In Health Care Reform
Silver linings are in short supply, but one appeared last week in the form of a new initiative called "Choosing Wisely," catalyzed by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. Its goal is to identify medical interventions -- like tests, procedures, drugs, and even surgery -- that are often overused without benefit to patients, and, in their words, "whose necessity should be questioned and discussed" between physicians and their patients. … (Dr. Donald M. Berwick, 4/8).

The Sacramento Bee: To Cut Health Costs, Doctors, Hospitals Must End Unneeded Medical Procedures
The federal health care reform law will face monumental hurdles to be successfully implemented. The biggest of these is its cost. … If we don't get a handle on rising health care costs the answer to that more important question is an emphatic "no." And that's what makes last week's announcement by physicians representing nine medical specialties so welcome. The physicians have identified 45 specific medical tests and procedures, five within each specialty, which they think are either overused or misused (4/8).

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