Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The LA Times reports that in a new report aimed at improving healthcare and controlling runaway costs a coalition of leading medical societies has identified nearly 100 medical procedures, tests and therapies that are overused and often unnecessary. The medical interventions — including early caesarean deliveries, CT scans for head injuries in children and annual Pap tests for middle-aged women — may be necessary in some cases, the physician groups say but often they are not beneficial and may even cause harm. "We are very concerned about the rapidly escalating cost of healthcare," says Dr. Bruce Sigsbee. "This is not healthy for the country, and something has to be done." Each of the specialty medical societies has provided a list of five procedures that physicians and patients should question about the overuse of medical tests and procedures that provide little benefit and in some cases harm. For example, despite the popularity of early caesareans, there is growing evidence that babies born before 39 weeks' gestation have higher risks of learning disabilities and even death. American doctors also order nearly twice as many CT and MRI exams as doctors in other industrialized countries and they perform more knee replacements and deliver more babies by caesarean section. A growing number of experts have concluded that much medical care in the U.S. is wasteful and even dangerous for patients. A 2012 report from the independent Institute of Medicine estimated total waste in the system at 30%, or $750 billion a year. "Millions of Americans are increasingly realizing that when it comes to healthcare, more is not necessarily better," says Dr. Christine K. Cassel."
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