Friday, July 16, 2010

Outsourcing Prevention Part II

A quick follow up to previous post. A recent NPR Shots Post summarized the new role prevention may play in the restructuring of health care. A particular line concerned me. "Insurers will have to cover preventive services ... that are recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force." First of all, the words "have to" rarely say to me efficiency or efficacy but rather a search for loopholes to recover lost profits. At the same time, the writer questions whether we will see any real savings from these requirements, citing the cost of many cancer screenings compared to their yield.

However, cancer screenings are a clear outlier on the list of services from the USPSTF. The prime motivation for colonoscopies and other screenings is not to save money but to potentially save the patient and so they are encouraged. The rest of the list deals with issues of diet, blood pressure, weight, smoking, and even vaccines, all of which, when dealt with appropriately, can greatly alleviate financial burden in the future.

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