CT scans

The LA Times (via the WSJ Health Blog) on the downsides of the exploding use of CT scans.

The risk of cancer is discussed, which should give patients pause before undergoing the scan. It’s a good sign that the media is taking a more critical look at overtesting.

Medicare has attempted to limit the number of scans but decreasing payment. However, the results of such a superficial solution is predictable:

So far, the government’s most significant response to the scanning boom has been to reduce the reimbursements for a variety of medical scans, including CTs.

Undeterred, doctors simply ordered more scans.

Of course, the persistent left-wing media attack on doctors continues by focusing on physician-owned scanners.

The article barely mentions patient demand – which is a far more significant driver for the number of scans. It is very difficult to convince the public to reject CT scans, simply because the belief that scanning for disease “just in case” is too strong:

Ali Nader, a 46-year-old attorney in Beverly Hills, didn’t have any symptoms of heart trouble, but at a funeral for yet another relative who died of a heart attack, a cousin told him about a new type of scanner that could see into his coronary arteries.

He and his brother decided to visit Madyoon in June for scans. The total bill was $3,000 — a $500 discount. Their arteries were fine.

“I have more peace of mind than before,” Nader said.

He plans to repeat the scan once a year just to make sure.