Study Identifies Unexpected Contributor to Rising Health Costs: Low-Cost Services

As the U.S. health care system searches for ways to cut costs while improving quality, new research published in the October 2017 issue of Health Affairs indicates that addressing low-cost, low-value services may go a long way toward reducing overall health care expenditures. The paper, titled “Low-Cost, High-Volume Health Services Contribute The Most To Unnecessary Health Spending,” was co-authored by Value-Based Insurance Design Center Director, Dr. A. Mark Fendrick, and details a UCLA-led study that investigated the financial impact of forty-four low-value health services in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The researchers found that the state spent more than $586 million on unnecessary health care in 2014, and low-cost services accounted for nearly two-thirds of this amount. As pointed out by the authors, “The cost distribution of low-value care should have important implications for policy makers, health care systems, and clinicians struggling to find better ways to reduce unnecessary costs without disappointing patients, disrupting practice norms, or reducing the quality of or access to care.”

Read the full article:

Health Affairs Article

Read UCLA’s Press Release:

UCLA Press Release

Read more about low-value care:

Low-Value Care Initiative   Low-Value Care Infographic