Department of Health and Human Services - IMB

lower medicare costs via new requirements for lab testing

My experience with my mother's interaction with doctors while on Medicare is that she would go in, talk to the doctor briefly, and then get labs prescribed, with many tests. Then, she would return two weeks later to go over the test results. The same things happens with my private insurance doctor -- I get a physical, he prescribes labs, and then I get the results, AFTER the physical. If I need to discuss the results, I have to go back for a second appointment. I think that doctors who receive Medicare payments should be required to, when an appointment is made, prescribe tests that they obviously will need PRIOR the appointment so that the probability of going over the test results at a SECOND appointment is minimized. It might put the patient to some minor inconvenience if they need to go back for even more tests after the visit, but it will undoubteldy save on Medicare costs for a needless second visit to go over lab results. Sometimes I wonder if doctors like this "mandatory second visit" to discus lab results because it gets them more money. My sense is that it would be an easy requirement to implement, and one that doesn't look like a "cut" to medicare.

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Idea No. 433