Even Massachusetts Rep. Edward J. Markey has weighed in to the controversy by saying that hundreds if not thousands of people were being unwittingly exposed to radioactive isotopes simply because they had been in close proximity of patients who had recently undergone therapy with high doses of radioactive isotopes.
With the concern that too many doctors are ordering too many unnecessary tests involving radiation, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has even launched a demonstration project to build a decision support system. The idea is that physicians who aren't sure about whether a test is warranted could use such tools to make the right choices for their patients.
2. Dialysis Mortality
The number of patients with end-stage renal disease continues to take a toll on the federal budget as the number of Americans receiving federally supported dialysis as a lifelong treatment option sits more than 400,000, at costs as high as $77,000 per patient per year. Dialysis mortality makes our list of top quality issues for 2011 as regulations come under scrutiny.
Care for dialysis patients is plagued with disparity and extremely high death rates, depending on where one receives care. For every five people who begin dialysis at the beginning of the year, one won't be alive at the end of it. But at some facilities, the death rate is as high as 30% per year.
ProPublica this year has exposed some of the reasons for the disparity such as high infection rates, low quality standards, and poor regulation of the industry. It said "two corporate chains that dominate the dialysis-care system are consistently profitable, together making about $2 billion in operating profits a year."