Study: Over-Treating Medicare Patients May Cost Billions

CHICAGO (May 12, 2014) In a single year, more than 40 percent of Medicare patients got at least one medical procedure they didn't need at a cost of as much as $8 billion, a new study suggests.

The treatments included cancer screenings beyond the age most experts recommend, and invasive heart and kidney procedures that research has shown are no better than medicine, and potentially more risky.

The researchers analyzed Medicare claims data for 1.3 million patients in 2009 and devised a list of 26 "low-value" procedures they determined reflect likely overuse.

The list was compiled from research evidence and recommendations from several medical groups.

The results were published online Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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