A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute has come to the conclusion that $210 billion is spent annually on defensive medicine.  According to the report, The Price of Excess: Identifying waste in healthcare spending, this deduction is based on interviews with 20 health industry and government executives, a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers and a review of over 35 studies.  The description of the research methodology used doesn’t mention the review of medical records. You would think that would be a good place to look. 

The report stated that “according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers’ study with America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), 10% of health costs are attributed to too much care in the form of defensive medicine and associated legal costs. The study suggested that the costs stretch across physician, outpatient, hospital, drugs and other medical services.” 

The question that I would like to ask the researchers is where are the medical records that back this claim?  I would like to see proof that the patients’ medical conditions didn’t warrant the tests and procedures used.

When it comes to medical care, it is a team effort between the doctor and patient.  The doctor diagnoses the condition and recommends a treatment plan. The standard of care requires that the physician explain both the risks and benefits of the treatment.  It is then up to the patient to decide whether to pursue the treatment or not. 

You can read more about recent research into so-called “defensive medicine,” in the article, What the Doctors in the “Defensive Medicine” Study are Really Saying.
Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized car accident and ERISA disability attorney in Fairfax, VA.
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