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Medical Schools Teaching Students Costs of Health Care

stethescopeOver the past decade, doctors and medical students have spent little time teaching or learning about the costs of health care services. Now after the year long debate about health insurance reform and the rising costs of health care, medical schools are starting to offer classes based on health care costs. Many schools are now offering medical students classes based on the costs of health care services and how the insurance system works. 

The former senior vice president for medical education at the American Association of Medical Colleges, Dr. Michael Whitcomb, feels that, “Medical schools have done a really terrible job over the years in educating students about the system that they’re going to encounter. ”

According to The New York Times, accrediting organizations are now requiring schools to teach students about health care costs and cost-effective practices. The A.A.M.C. established these rules in 1998 and then in 2007, residency programs were forced to implement cost effective ideas in caring for patients.

Right now around 60 percent of medical schools include information about health care costs in student materials but the amount of time and discussion spent on these issues varies. 

Dr. Neel Shah from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said, “It’s a very odd system where we make purchasing decisions on behalf of patients but we don’t know what anything costs. There’s no disincentive to ordering tests-all we have to do is click a button and we’re ordered it. ”

Doctors that are well-informed about the costs of health care will make the best decisions for their patients, and help battle the rising costs of health care.

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