BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) — For a serious medical condition, surgery often saves lives, but a new report finds doctors performed tens of thousands of unnecessary procedures in 2020. Consumer Reports has important advice on the way to have openness and a frank discussion with your doctor to make sure you’re getting the care you really need.
In the first 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, even when most cities were in lockdown, Medicare was billed for more than 100,000 overused or unnecessary surgeries or procedures, according to the nonprofit Lown Institute.
This includes more than 45,000 stents for coronary heart disease, 16,000 vertebroplasties for osteoporosis, and 14,000 hysterectomies for benign disease.
In some cases, these are life-saving procedures. However, in a number of cases, a patient’s condition could also be managed well with less invasive but equally effective treatment.
Take the more than 13,000 unnecessary spinal fusions discovered by the study. Although the procedure can be successful, experts say that for moderate to mild back pain it is often no more effective than non-surgical treatments like physiotherapy.
So if your doctor recommends surgery, discuss the benefits and risks openly and honestly. If you’re not sure where to start, Consumer Reports has two simple questions to get the conversation started.
– If your parent or child had this condition, would you recommend this procedure?
This forces your doctor to take a moment and pause. It also helps them connect to what you are going through as a patient.
– What are the alternatives ?
You want to know if there are other suitable options that may be less invasive, have fewer potential side effects, or require less healing time.
And before any major surgery, seriously consider a second opinion. Your doctor should welcome ideas and comments from other colleagues. And if they don’t, you might want to look for a new doctor.
Another question you can ask yourself: How much will it cost me? Due to the recent no surprises law, healthcare providers are now required to provide you with an easy-to-understand estimate explaining what you’ll be charged if you don’t have insurance or choose not to. utilize.
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