Unnecessary Medical Treatments: What You Can Do After The Fact
Unfortunately, unnecessary health care, testing, and treatment are given more often than you would think. This drives up the cost of health insurance for everyone else and possibly causing harm to a patient.
Half Of All Medical Care May Be Wasteful
A recent study found that half of the medical care examined was unnecessary. This ratio of wasteful medical care to necessary medical care is as truly astounding. Additionally, it is a leading cause of the exorbitant cost of healthcare in our nation.
More important than the monetary waste, is damage to the health of individuals. These are people who are inappropriately, unnecessarily, or excessively treated. As many know, the first tenet of medical care is “do no harm.” In a misguided attempt to do good, a medical practitioner may go overboard in ordering tests, procedures, or medications. In the end, this may ultimately do more harm to the patient than good. Rather than assist in diagnosing or curing any condition, disease, or injury, some may suffer. Lastly, unnecessary tests, procedures, and treatments are eventually billed to the patient. Dependent upon their copay, this places the burden on the patient to pay for medical care they did not need.
When someone is injured or sick, they want the most thorough and comprehensive medical care. As a layperson, how can a typical patient tell what care is necessary and what isn’t? And, if they believe they’ve received excessive medical care, what can they do about it?
Why Does Unnecessary Medical Care Happen?
There are several reasons unnecessary medical testing and treatment occur. First, there may be a matter of practice tradition, for example, if an echocardiogram is ordered every time a patient complains of chest pain. Second, your medical provider may believe that other physicians, such as your primary care provider or surgeon, want additional tests done. Third, there may be some concern about thoroughness. Medical malpractice and liability for misdiagnosing or mistreating an illness, disease, or injury is serious.
Regardless of the reason it occurs, unnecessary medical care is wasteful and has potential to harm a patient.
First, Get A Second Opinion And A Checkup
If medical care you’ve received has had no effect on your condition, made your condition worse, or injured you in some other way, you need to see another doctor and be assessed. You want to make sure that you will suffer no long-term effects from unnecessary medical treatment, and you want to receive the correct treatment for whatever condition you have. If you believe you’ve had an unnecessary surgery or other procedure, contact a medical malpractice attorney for help. Not only should you not have to pay your copay for that procedure, but you may also be eligible for compensation.
“Unnecessary surgery” occurs when a patient has a surgical procedure that the patient does not want or need. In other words, the surgery is not being performed to treat an injury or illness or to improve the patient’s health or well-being. A patient who has suffered injury, harm, or death as a result of an unnecessary surgical procedure may be able to sue their surgeon and other medical providers involved. These claims often serve as the basis of a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit.
Patients and patients’ families who prevail in unnecessary surgery cases can potentially recover. Whether economic, non-economic, or possibly punitive (punishment) damages apply, this depends on if they can obtain proof. Their task is to show that the surgeon deviated from their duty of care and the patient suffered actual damages.
Second, Dispute The Unnecessary Medical Charges
If the unnecessary medical treatment took the form of additional testing, that might not have harmed you other than wasted your time. However, you should not have to pay for it. Dispute the charges with the office of your medical provider and your health insurance company, and be sure to keep a record of all correspondence concerning the dispute. If disputing the charges at that initial level is not successful, consider filing an appeal. This can be done with your medical provider’s patient advocate and contacting the office of your state insurance commissioner.
A worst-case scenario regarding testing involves pre-operative testing. This occurs when a medical provider orders unnecessary tests and the health insurance company realizes they are unnecessary and refuses to pay. In that case, a patient caught in the middle. They must fight both their medical provider and health insurance company to avoid liability for those costs. Keep a file of your medical bills. Those bills will list all tests, treatments, and procedures done and provide proof. Should you have to contest any of your care, this will confirm their happening and you can explain their unnecessary and/or harmful nature.
About The Author
Veronica Baxter is a legal assistant and blogger living and working in the great city of Philadelphia. She frequently works for Villari Law, a noted birth injury lawyer with offices in Philadelphia and Camden, NJ.
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