America has a shortage of doctors and other health care professionals. Professionals in the education system and health field believe this trend may worsen over time. From difficult courses to high student loan debt and constant lawsuits, doctors have their work cut out for them before they even step into the office.
There are certainly some bad doctors who give the good ones a bad name. This can generate paranoia that causes innocent and authentic services provided to appear as health care fraud to insurance companies and even patients.
How unnecessary tests make doctors money
Most doctors are so overworked that the idea of making more work for themselves might not make immediate sense. However, some doctors do order unnecessary tests to pad medical bills and bring in more revenue for themselves and their employers. CNN Business identifies these tests as the most commonly resorted to:
- Head scans for mere headaches
- Imaging for pain in the lower back
- Spinal injections to treat lower back pain
Together, these and other tests account for more than $32.8 million in unnecessary health care services. Doctors also seemed more likely to take advantage of situations where patients had excellent insurance plans.
How the money tallies up in the health care system
A more recent report from PBS estimates that the total amount wasted on unnecessary tests each year reaches $200 billion. It proposes that this level of aggressive care may lead to more medical errors for patients and cause unnecessary stress. It may also lead to the delay of treatment while doctors pretend they do not yet know what has caused the patients’ symptoms.
Over time, insurance companies learned to flag specific procedures that they notice may play a role in health care fraud. This may lead to false accusations against well-meaning doctors seeking to serve their patients.