KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Expensive Imaging Tests Blamed For Rising Health Costs

Boston Globe: Massachusetts has seen a $214 million increase in spending on imaging tests in just two years, contributing to the rise in cost of hospital care. Researchers hired by Gov. Deval Patrick (D- Mass.) say some of the cost increase is due to the change in where imaging is done from independent clinics to hospitals, which usually cost more.

Rising imaging costs are being investigated as a large reason for increased costs overall. "They found that about half of the increased spending on imaging was the result of higher prices, either hospitals charging more for the same kind of scan or substituting a more costly test, such as a CT scan, for a less expensive one, such as a standard X-ray." But some say the more expensive scans are more effective and therefore worth the cost: "there are legitimate reasons to charge more for digital mammography, including price of the machines: $350,000 to $400,0000, compared with $100,000 for traditional equipment," according to one doctor (Kowalczyk, 3/11).

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