Docs Pick Procedures That Pay -- But Don't Do Much -- to Keep In Their Practices

Big surprise.  In a recent survey doctors skipped over their most lucrative -- but unsuccessful -- procedures when asked to suggest which of them should be eliminated.

According to Kaiser Health News, "When America’s joint surgeons were challenged to come up with a list of unnecessary procedures in their field, their selections shared one thing: none significantly impacted their incomes."

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons discouraged patients with joint pain from taking two types of dietary supplements, wearing custom shoe inserts or overusing wrist splints after carpal tunnel surgery, Jordon Rau reports. "The surgeons also condemned an infrequently performed procedure where doctors wash a pained knee joint with saline," he writes.

"They could have chosen many surgical procedures that are commonly done, where evidence has shown over the years that they don't work or where they're being done with no evidence," Dr. James Rickert, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Indiana University, told Rau. "They chose stuff of no material consequence that nobody really does."

The medical profession has historically been reluctant to condemn unwarranted but often lucrative tests and treatments that can rack up costs to patients but not improve their health and can sometimes hurt them, Rau notes. 

Some of the largest medical associations who responded to the survey selected rare services or ones that are done by practitioners in other fields and will not affect their earnings. "They were willing to throw someone else’s services into the arena, but not their own," Rau quotes Dr. Nancy Morden, a researcher at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice in New Hampshire.

Are you having procedures that are expensive, yet medically dubious?  Do your own research and find out.


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