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By Liz Bennett: www.undergroundmedic.com
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5 questions you should ask if you want to cut your medical bills

Monday, October 24, 2016 1:49
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In the US the costs of medical treatment is beyond the reach of many and particularly since the implementation of Obamacare some families have found themselves not able to continue treatment or get new treatment because their insurance no longer covers their illness. Five questions need to be asked before any treatment starts:

  • Do I really need this test, treatment or procedure?
  • What are the risks or downsides?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • Are there simpler, safer options?
  • What will happen if I do nothing?

The Choose Wisely campaign was set up in the UK so both patients and doctors have resources available that can tell them if a treatment is actually needed. It’s a great resource and has links to the best peer reviewed and guidance notes from around the world. There are 49 pages on the link above, many of them to recognised

Surprisingly there are many recommendations from US medics as to what treatments offer little value medically to patients.

By clicking on this link you will connect to a resource that lists guidelines for clinicians that tell them which tests and procedures are NOT required for the adequate treatment of a massive variety of disorders from dental care to childbirth.

As an example The American Society for Clinical Pathology lists 15 medical recommendations for doctors and patients. Number 3 states:

Avoid routine preoperative testing for low risk surgeries without a clinical indication.

Most preoperative tests (typically a complete blood count, Prothrombin Time and Partial Prothomboplastin Time, basic metabolic panel and urinalysis) performed on elective surgical patients are normal. Findings influence management in under 3% of patients tested. In almost all cases, no adverse outcomes are observed when clinically stable patients undergo elective surgery, irrespective of whether an abnormal test is identified. Preoperative testing is appropriate in symptomatic patients and those with risks factors for which diagnostic testing can provide clarification of patient surgical risk.

The sheer amount of recommendations makes it impossible to list them all,  but the take away point is that  just because your doctor is suggesting tests and treatments doesn’t always mean you need to have these tests – and in many cases cutting the unneccessary tests will shave $1000’s off the medical bill.

The site has a useful search box making life a lot simpler. When you enter you can click on each association or organisation on the left hand side to bring up a list of all the recommendations for that organisation. So Clicking on the American Dental Association brings up five recommendations and number 5 reads:

Don’t replace restorations just because they are old.

Dental restorations (fillings) fail due to excessive wear, fracture of material or tooth, loss of retention, or recurrent decay. The larger the size of the restoration and/or the greater the number of surfaces filled increases the likelihood of failure. Restorative materials have different survival rates and fail for different reasons, but age should not be used as a failure criteria.

This site is a fantastic resource for those who are unsure if they actually need the tests and treatments their doctor is advising them to have.

Other useful articles:

Treatment of burns

Cleaning necrotic wounds

Using sugar to heal wounds

Take care

Liz

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