Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Advances in medical technology

On the theme of new medical technology and its associated monetary costs, here are a couple of other news items y'all might want to check out:

The Baltimore Sun article "Medical Scans Zapping Insurers":

The upshot: Imaging has nudged out drugs as the fastest growing component of rising medical costs, increasing as much as 20 percent a year.

The overall cost of diagnostic imaging is estimated at well over $100 billion annually in the United States. That's about a nickel of each health spending dollar.

That's gotten the attention of insurers, who have put up more hurdles and imposed more controls, creating hassles for doctors and patients alike. Sometimes they refuse to pay at all.
The courant.com article "Doctors Balk At Small Fee For Injecting Costly Vaccine":

Doctors report a brisk demand for the vaccine, which blocks strains of the ubiquitous human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers.

But some doctors, especially pediatricians and gynecologists, who are most likely to be asked for the vaccine, are refusing to buy it or restricting who receives the shots.

Discontent over the price of the vaccine - the most expensive ever - highlights a long-simmering dispute over reimbursement for immunizations, traditionally regarded as bedrock medicine. It is a dispute, experts say, with significant public health implications that has accelerated as the number of costly new vaccines has proliferated.

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