November 13, 2023

Colorado-focused report shows wasteful spending, over $130M spent on low-value care

Editor's Note

A new report by the Denver-based nonprofit Center for Improving Value in Health Care found that millions are being spent on tests and treatments that have limited value for patient health and well-being, KFF Health News November 13 reports.

According to estimates, from 10% to 30% of the $3 trillion spent each year on healthcare in the US comprises low-value care. The Center for Improving Value in Health Care used a calculator that quantifies spending for services identified as low-value care by the Choosing Wisely campaign, a collaborative effort of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation and more than 80 medical specialty societies.

This report, which focused on Colorado, found that the state spent nearly $134 million on low-value care services in 2021. The report also highlighted that spending on unnecessary procedures in Colorado averaged $71 per service, according to the findings. 

One area of unnecessary procedures was CT scans. Rather than ordering CT scans if ultrasounds do not show the appendix, for instance, new protocols at Children’s Hospital Colorado have surgeons evaluate pediatric patients with abdominal pain before ordering the scan, which cut CT scan orders by 10% with no increase in complications.


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