Health Care :: Strategies to address rising health care costs

The American Medical Association (AMA) announced that the nation’s physicians today voted to approve a set of strategies for containing health care costs and achieving even greater value for health spending. Physicians at the AMA Annual Meeting asserted that successful cost-containment must focus on balancing costs and benefits.

“Health care spending has yielded substantial clinical, economic and quality of life benefits, but the overall growth in health care costs has outpaced general inflation,” noted AMA Board Member Carmel, MD. “While physicians play a key role in efforts to contain costs, problems like obesity, tobacco use, alcohol and substance abuse and violence will require action from coalitions of stakeholders from within and outside the health care system to drive major societal change.

To manage health care costs and improve value, the AMA will advocate for the following four broad strategies:

Reduce the burden of preventable disease.
Make health care delivery more efficient.
Reduce non-clinical health system costs that do not contribute to patient care.
Promote “value-based decision-making” at all levels.

From these broad strategies follow a number of specific policy interventions to improve the cost-effectiveness of the U.S. health care system. The proposed interventions emphasize the central role that physicians play in addressing rising costs and improving value for health care spending. The most promising interventions adopted by the AMA are outlined on the AMA Web site.

The strategies and specific interventions adopted by the AMA today recommend shifting resources toward preventive services and public health interventions, increasing the availability of both clinical and cost information needed to make cost-effective decisions, and employing incentives for patients, physicians, and others to make value-based decisions.

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