In this week’s installment of Getting to Better Care, we bring you the importance of pricing in cost control, doctors who practice what they preach and an extra helping of fun. You can also check out our previous blog posts for more information on how we can get to better care.
- Doctors (and us!) worry that workers and employers may be sacrificing access to preventive care in pursuit of lower premiums. The number of workers with high deductible plans – including deductibles of $1,000 or more for individuals – has more than tripled over the last four years. Federal health reform may alleviate some of these concerns by mandating that insurers pay the full cost of many preventive procedures, but doctors say patients still forgo some necessary treatments that they must pay for out-of-pocket. Check out thisLA Times story.
- Washington Post columnist Alex MacGillis takes on payment reform, arguing that real savings to the health care system lie in controlling the price of care, not just the quantity of care consumed. “Simply put, Americans pay much more for each bit of care – tests, procedures, hospital stays, drugs, devices – than people in other rich nations,” MacGillis writes.
- Are Americans getting sicker? Maybe, maybe not. Recent studies show a decrease in healthy life expectancy – the number of years Americans can expect to be free of chronic conditions, like diabetes and hypertension. But, in his upcoming book Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health, Dartmouth Professor H. Gilbert Welch questions the reliability of this statistic in light of increasingly sophisticated diagnostic technology, as well as lower thresholds for what counts as, for example, a high blood sugar level. ‘BUR’s CommonHealth has the story, and the chart.
- The New York Times offered a compelling story that illustrates how doctors can behave proactively to provide better care. One doctor attests that she schedules follow-up appointments with patients she is worried about, rather than simply assuming patients will call if they have not gotten better.
- Last Friday, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and a bevy of Boston doctors took a brisk lap through Boston Common to promote the importance of exercise. Promoters say studies show that healthier doctors have healthier patients. Did you join in the walk?
-The Campaign for Better Care Team