Costs of Care Contest Winners Offer Lessons Learned on Providing High Value Care

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Costs of Care, a nonprofit that helps caregivers deflate medical bills and provide high value care, has chosen four winners in its second annual national healthcare essay contest. These stories from every corner of the United States expand the public discourse on the role of doctors, nurses, and other care providers in controlling healthcare costs.

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Former White House Budget Director Peter Orzsag

These stories--which describe unnecessary tests and costs, along with more inertia and misinformation than most people might think--highlight both where we are today and a pathway to a better health care future.

Costs of Care, a nonprofit that helps caregivers deflate medical bills and provide high value care, has chosen four winners in its second annual national healthcare essay contest. These stories from every corner of the United States expand the public discourse on the role of doctors, nurses, and other care providers in controlling healthcare costs.

"Patients and their caregivers are uniquely positioned to recognize inefficiency in the healthcare system but are seldom empowered with information they need to reduce harmful spending," says Dr. Neel Shah, Executive Director of Costs of Care.

With the help former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, former White House Budget Director Peter Orzsag, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, women’s health advocate Dr. Susan Love, and Harvard University provost and health economist Alan Garber, Costs of Care (http://www.CostsOfCare.org) launched an innovative essay contest last Fall aimed at elucidating both the challenges and opportunities to save patients’ money with routine, cost-conscious medical decisions.

From Labor Day through November, Costs of Care gathered more than 100 personal stories from patients, nurses, and doctors across the nation. The following submissions were chosen as winners and awarded $1000 prizes:

  •     Renee Lux, a patient from Connecticut writes about how an unnecessary CT scan for easily treated neck pain brands her with a pre-existing condition that causes her insurance premiums to skyrocket
  •     Andrew Schutzbank, a physician from Massachusetts describes how a common pharmaceutical cost-shifting strategy leaves him unable to discharge his patient from the hospital.
  •     Court Nederveld, a frugal patient from Florida tells us how he saved money on routine prescriptions and tests by engaging his doctor in a frank conversation about costs
  •     Molly Kantor, a medical student from Massachusetts writes about how she helped treat heart failure on a $100 budget by avoiding an unnecessary hospital admission

Honorable mention was awarded to John Schumann, a physician from Oklahoma, who tells us how he debunked a widely-held hospital belief that patients who decline medical advice are financially penalized.

Copies of the winning submissions will be made available upon request.

All qualifying submissions to the contest will be published biweekly at the Costs of Care blog during the 2012 calendar year, and will be made available to the media. Based on lessons learned from the contest, Costs of Care will also release a series of “quick guides” and educational web-based videos for both patients and care providers.

The contest is sponsored in part through the generosity of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan. Costs of Care will be accepting submissions for their third annual contest during the Fall 2012.

ABOUT COSTS OF CARE
Costs of Care is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that gives cost-conscious care providers the information they need to provide high value care, while expanding the national discourse on the role of care providers in responsible resource stewardship. Costs of Care was founded by a resident physician based at Harvard Medical School who noticed that even the best physicians sometimes overlook something critical—the bill.

Full contest details are available at http://www.costsofcare.org/essay

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