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New Study Finds Large Number of Washington Patients Receive Unnecessary Tests, Procedures, and Treatments

In an analysis of 1.3 million patients across Washington state who received a health care service known to be commonly overused, the Washington Health Alliance found that nearly half of the patients received care that is considered low value, or wasteful. That overuse of care amounted to an estimated $282 million in unnecessary health care spending in one year.  The report, “First, Do No Harm: Calculating Health Care Waste in Washington State” utilizes the new MedInsight Health Waste Calculator from the actuarial consulting firm Milliman, to produce an analysis of low-value health care services across the state. The services measured include 47 common tests, procedures, and treatments that clinician-led national initiatives such as Choosing Wisely® and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have determined are overused.

The measurement year used for the results in this report include services delivered between July 2015 and June 2016.  The utilization figures shown throughout this report, including number of services and individuals, are based on actual utilization (claims data for approximately 2.4 million commercially insured people). The cost figures in this report are estimated, based on Milliman’s Consolidated Health Cost Source database for Washington. Estimated costs are based on reference unit prices that represent the average cost of each service (for the commercially insured).

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