Turns out that an ounce of prevention may cost more than a pound of cure. At least this is the premise of a Reuters article posted earlier this week entitled, “Think Preventive Medicine Will Save Money? Think again.”
Holding up the mainstay of preventative care (the annual physical), the article mentions that “a 2012 analysis of 14 large studies found they do not lower the risk of serious illness or premature death.” Even so, “about one-third of U.S. adults get them … for a cost of about $8 billion a year.”
Secondly, “the reason preventive care brings so few cost savings is the large number of people who need to receive a particular preventive service in order to avert a single expensive illness.” Dr. David Newman, an emergency physician at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City explains, “It’s like treating every house for termites … the vast majority would never have gotten infested in the first place, so the thousands spent to avoid the infestation is money for nothing.”
Rather than a wide flung campaign of preemptive health the Reuters piece advances a balanced and informed approach of “‘smart’ prevention (that) increases the chances of preventing expensive diseases and saving money.” Seems sensible enough.