As a surgeon, when I see patients referred to my clinic with a surgical problem such as a hernia or gallbladder disease, they usually bring their medical records from the referring primary provider. When I peruse the records before seeing the patient, it is more and more common—almost normal—for those records to contain a frighteningly long list of additional diagnoses. I expect to see an extremely fragile and unhealthy patient who might be a poor surgical candidate. Once I get to know the patient I am usually relieved to discover that they are fairly healthy, vigorous specimens.

Technically the diagnoses on such lists are legitimate. But very often the list is not a true reflection of the patient’s health or of any relevance to my clinical decision-making. Health care practitioners have been aware of this phenomenon called “ over-diagnosis” for years. And in hoping to rein in the explosion of spending that inevitably results when patients and doctors spend a third party’s money, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has implemented a new payment model that doesn’t help the over-diagnosis problem.

Read the full article on Medicare encouraging over-diagnosis by Jeffrey A. Singer at Cato Institute