Spending on unnecessary medical care hits $282M in Washington state: 5 things to know

Unnecessary medical care is widespread and drives up the cost of care. Just a handful of healthcare services account for millions of dollars of waste in Washington state, according to a report by the Washington Health Alliance.

Here's what you need to know:

1. The WHA used the MedInsight Health Waste Calculator to analyze waste and low-value healthcare services as defined by the national Choosing Wisely program.

2. The report assessed 47 common treatment approaches often considered to be overused. Approximately 1.3 million people received one of these services and nearly one-half of these individuals — 47.9 percent — received a low-value service.

3. More than 45 percent of the assessed services were low-value.

4. The report found that 36 percent of spending on healthcare services went to low-value treatments and procedures, amounting to an estimated $282 million in wasteful spending.

5. Value-based provider contracts, the authors suggest, must include measures of overuse and not just underuse of evidence-based care and access measures.

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