Friday, July 15, 2011

* Sawing Budgets Not Bones: First, Do No Harm to the Budget

Sorry about your back injury.  We've exceeded our bottom line and we refuse to operate in the red (so to speak).

David Brooks tells  readers today  in his NY Times Op-Ed piece  Death and Budgets  that "a large  share of our health care spending is devoted to ill patients in the last phases of life. This sort of spending is growing fast. Americans spent $91 billion caring for Alzheimer’s patients in 2005. By 2015, according to Callahan and Nuland, the cost of Alzheimer’s will rise to $189 billion and by 2050 it is projected to rise to $1 trillion annually — double what Medicare costs right now."

Dartmouth President Jim Kim is quoted in today's Dartmouth as saying at a forum at the school yesterday that " the rates of back surgery across the country to illustrate the number of unnecessary medical procedures that occur each day in the United States. While certain hospitals perform about nine surgeries per 1,000 patients per year, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center only performs 2.3 because of more diligent screening. ‘If the entire country performed these surgeries at this rate, we’d save about $580 million a year in health care costs’ Kim said.”

Perhaps the New Hippocratic Oath should read: First, do no harm to the budget.

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