NEWS BRIEF Over 30 Massachusetts hospitals said they will drastically cut back on elective procedures as a way to help confront the state’s steep health care costs.
The hospital providers will find ways to trim down on expensive surgeries and other procedures that rarely end up costing more than $10,000, the Associated Press reported.
Although it’s far too early to tell if the cuts will have an impact on the health care system, one medical device that could be hit hard is the Sonicare toothbrush, according to the Boston Globe:
Under the deal with the Massachusetts Hospital Association, hospitals would stop offering a Sonicare electric toothbrush at half its usual retail price. Instead, some patients would likely buy the device for $29, according to an agenda committee meeting prepared for the group’s board of directors.
The agreement, which still needs approval from the hospital association’s board of directors, aims to reduce hospital emergency room visits by about 10 percent. The agreement comes as the state’s health care costs have become increasingly burdensome, as the Globe explains:
The agreement sets a goal of reducing ER visits by about 10 percent over the next three years. The hospital association and Med Share, the group of private hospitals that the association represents, have been unable to craft a plan to bring costs down and the more frequent use of emergency rooms is contributing to those high costs.
The state’s health care costs have risen about 8 percent annually in recent years, causing healthcare costs to climb to $46.2 billion in 2017, according to the latest figures from the Commonwealth Fund.