Researchers have identified a surprising number of health screens that are given to patients who may not need them. These procedures are estimated to cost $478 million a year, and deliver little value for this price. Not only are these procedures potentially unnecessary, but they may also actually cause harm to some individuals. These medical services are ordered by physicians often; the researchers estimated that there were over 31 million preventive services that they deemed worthy of a "D' rating.
This study, which was reported in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, was completed by The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is an independent panel that was appointed by the Department of Health and Human Services. The D rating is for services that have no likely benefit and potential harm. Healthcare spending may be raised by billions by these procedures, and they may be causing serious inconvenience to people that are told to get them.
The services that were identified in this study often included patients that were given screenings even though there was little likelihood they were at risk, or patients who were too old to get a real benefit from finding out about a health problem. There were seven procedures given D grades:
Since medicare data was used for this work, it's possible that some clinical data was missing that would have justified some of these tests, the researchers noted. As of February 2021, grade D services will not be covered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.