Unnecessary healthcare spending topped $341M in Washington, report says

An estimated $341 million was spent on unnecessary healthcare treatment in Washington state from July 2016-17, according to the nonprofit Washington Health Alliance.

WHA's report examined 48 measures of common medical treatments, tests and procedures during the yearlong period. The organization estimated healthcare waste across a population of 4.3 million residents using the MedInsight Health Waste Calculator from actuarial consulting firm Milliman.

The alliance found of the 2.9 million tests and procedures analyzed, 47 percent were  "low-value" or overused medical treatments. In addition, 88 percent of the 48 treatments and services studied were attributed to only 10 common services.

Nancy A. Giunto, executive director of WHA, said in a prepared statement: "Physicians and patients need to practice shared decision-making and have conversations about appropriate medical care that is both necessary and evidence-based. Those who provide and pay for healthcare need to undertake honest discussions and collaboration to identify the sources of waste and patient harm."

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