Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where's the beef? Show me the money! Where's the evidence?

An excellent series by the NY Times, which is increasingly asking the right and hard questions about healthcare and its costs is in the column, the Evidence Gap. The most recent piece discusses the reimbursement by Medicare for prostate cancer using radiation treatment known as a CyberKnife. Although there is no evidence that is it any better than current therapies, whether you as a patient have the CyberKnife treatment covered is mainly based on where you live. Medicare doesn't reimburse for the procedure in California or Texas, even though it is a national plan.

Shocking? Hardly. These are the kinds of disparities that arise in our healthcare system everyday. Often the treatments aren't driven by science but by reimbursement.

When you get any treatment, ask your doctor, where's the proof that the treatment you offer is better than others? As the article implies, you may get a newer procedure not because it is necessarily better than others, but because someone, like Medicare will pay for it.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails