kaiser Health News writes: According to findings from a new study published in JAMA, nearly a third of patients who get colonoscopies to screen for cancer visit a gastroenterologist before having the procedure, at an average cost of $124, even though such visits may be unnecessary. The study analyzed the claims data of 843,000 patients between the ages of 50 and 64 between 2010 and 2013 who had a screening colonoscopy. They all had employer-sponsored coverage. According to the authors, primary care doctors are generally in a good position to alert their patients that they should be screened, discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with them and order the test. Such “open access” programs, which allow providers and sometimes patients to schedule the screening test without first sitting down with a gastroenterologist for a consultation, are becoming routine.