Friday, June 10. 2011
Many health insurance companies and self-insured employee groups rely on primary care doctors to keep healthcare costs at a minimum while also maximizing patient health. The idea that primary care doctors can help to manage costs is not new, but supporters, such as American College of Physicians president Jeffery P. Harris, remain vocal about the issue.
"The evidence for the value of primary care is clear," he told Science Daily. "It manifests itself in better quality of life, more productive longevity, and lower costs as a result of reduced hospitalization, improved prevention and better coordination of chronic disease care."
However, the National Physicians Alliance (NPA) recently found that doctors are distributing medications and performing unnecessary – even potentially harmful – screenings that may be adding to the already troubling trend of inflated health insurance costs.
The group has made several “top 5” lists aimed at encouraging doctors nationwide to reconsider how their practices may be effecting the healthcare bottom line, according to The New York Times. Based on data collected from monitoring PCPs in three specialties, the report suggests limiting certain tests - such as general blood testing for healthy individuals and bone density tests for younger persons not at risk for developing osteoporosis – in an effort to curb rising costs.
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