Thursday, August 13, 2009

Controlling Health Care Costs

When looking to solve a problem, it is recommended that you first identify the causes of the problem. PricewaterhouseCoopers did a study of the "waste" in our current health care systems, with the radical idea that if you could first identify the waste, perhaps you could then laser focus on those causes to reduce or eliminate the waste that is causing higher health care costs.

Now, the following list is not totally comprehensive, i.e., not exclusive, as there are other ways that costs can be controlled, but this is a good start, from an objective source.

Health care's big money wasters: More than $1.2 trillion spent on health care each year is a waste of money. Members of the medical community identify the leading causes., August 10, 2009. CNN publishes PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates of annual “waste”:

  • Risky behavior such as smoking, obesity and alcohol abuse - $493 billion
  • Too many tests - $210 billion
  • Those annoying claim forms - $210 billion
  • Going back to the hospital - $25 billion
  • Staffing turnover - $21 billion
  • Medical “oops” - $17 billion
  • Using the ER as a clinic - $14 billion
  • Prescriptions written on paper - $4 billion
  • You forgot to wash your hands - $3 billion
  • Over-prescribing of antibiotics - $1 billion


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