Ways To Cut Waste And Improve Quality In U.S. Health Care
Apr 10, 2012 - 10:25:23 AM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - CHICAGO – Eliminating waste in U.S. health care is critical, and researchers have identified six categories where cuts could result in a significant reduction in health care costs, according to an article in the April 11 issue of JAMA.
“The need is urgent to bring U.S. health care costs into a sustainable range for both public and private payers. Commonly, programs to contain costs use cuts, such as reductions in payment levels, benefit structures, and eligibility. A less harmful strategy would reduce waste, not value-added care. The opportunity is immense,” writes the authors of the article, Donald M. Berwick, M.D., M.P.P., former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and former president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and Andrew D. Hackbarth, M.Phil., of the RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif.
The authors suggest that in just 6 categories of waste—overtreatment, failures of care coordination, failures in execution of care processes, administrative complexity, pricing failures, and fraud and abuse—the sum of the lowest available estimates exceeds 20 percent of total health care expenditures.
“The actual total may be far greater. The savings potentially achievable from systematic, comprehensive, and cooperative pursuit of even a fractional reduction in waste are far higher than from more direct and blunter cuts in care and coverage. The potential economic dislocations, however, are severe and require mitigation through careful transition strategies.”
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