Kusserow on Compliance: Health care waste estimated at $760 – 935 billion

25 percent of health care costs are due to fraud, abuse, and wast

More waste than the Department of Defense budget

The estimated cost of waste in the U.S. health care system ranged from $760 billion to $935 billion, accounting for about one quarter of the of total health care spending of 3.82 trillion, according to a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association by researchers from the Institute of Medicine. The study was based on 6 previously identified domains of health care waste. These waste estimates are larger than the entire U.S. Department of Defense budget of $693 billion.  The researchers further projected potential savings from interventions that reduce waste of 25 percent, equaling about $191 billion to $282 billion. The six factors included in their focus of waste were: (1) failure of care delivery; (2) failure of care coordination; (3) overtreatment or low-value care; (4) pricing failure; (5) fraud and abuse; and (6) administrative complexity. The study noted that the United States spends more on health care than any other country, with costs approaching 18 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP)—more than $10 000 per individual.

Richard P. Kusserow served as DHHS Inspector General for 11 years. He currently is CEO of Strategic Management Services, LLC (SM), a firm that has assisted more than 3,000 organizations and entities with compliance related matters. The SM sister company, CRC, provides a wide range of compliance tools including sanction-screening.

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Copyright © 2019 Strategic Management Services, LLC. Published with permission.