Wednesday, December 7, 2022


Warnock projected to win in U.S. Senate race for Georgia; new report urges Governor-Elect to fix PA unemployment system; rising land prices pose challenges for VA farmers.


The nation watches as votes are counted in the Senate runoff in Georgia, the House holds hearings in the lame-duck session, and Capitol Police Officers receive medals for their heroism on January 6.


The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Report: Use of Low-Value Health Services High Even During Pandemic


Monday, May 16, 2022   

During the first year of the global pandemic, medical consumers in Colorado received more than one million low-value healthcare services - diagnostic tests, screenings and treatments where the risk of harm outweighs any likely benefit to the patient.

Cari Frank, vice president for communications with the Center for Improving Value in HealthCare - the group behind a new report, said consumers and insurers paid $134 million for these services in 2020.

"Even in spite of COVID, when people weren't accessing health-care services the same way," said Frank, "we still saw high numbers of these low-value care services. And they cost a lot of money, both to the health plans and to the patient, and actually can cause harm to patients."

The most obvious example of low-value care is when providers prescribe opioids for acute back pain without first trying alternative medication - a remedy that comes with significant risk of addiction and even death.

Health providers across the nation, working with medical boards and other professional associations, have created a list and guidelines for low-value services through an initiative called Choosing Wisely.

Frank said getting the word out can help bring down overall health costs. She said many services now considered low-value care were considered best practices at one time.

"A lot of things are just, historically, the way the provider has treated patients," said Frank. "And it takes a while when the guidelines change, for there to be an actual adoption of the guidelines."

The average cost for low-value services is $130 - but some, including peripheral catheters for patients with late-stage kidney disease, cost more than $14,000 per incidence.

Frank noted that every patient is different, and some procedures flagged as low-value may actually be the right course for patients.

"There might be family history, or there might be medical history where they have tried some other alternative," said Frank. "So there still needs to be that kind of communication between the provider and the patient."

Disclosure: Center for Improving Value in HealthCare contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
According to Consumer Reports, crowded windowless "factory farms" likely contribute to salmonella and campylobacter bacteria in poultry. The consumer advocacy publication suggests choosing organic-raised poultry over conventional. It acknowledges organic production is more costly. (Adobe Stock)


A new study is focused on concerns for Nebraska waterways. The three-year, independently funded research identifies rising levels of phosphorus and …

Health and Wellness

Inside a massive appropriations bill now in Congress is a provision which would allow federal funding for dental therapists. Dental therapists …


Promoting access to nature for underserved communities can improve quality of life while bolstering biodiversity and fighting climate change…


With Montana lawmakers looking at a large budget surplus, a group of hunters, scientists and landowners is asking them to consider creating a trust …

Soil erosion by water occurs when bare-sloped soil surface is exposed to rainfall, and the rainfall intensity exceeds the rate of soil intake, or infiltration rate, leading to soil-surface runoff. (Adobe Stock)


The Iowa Watershed Planning Advisory Council just released its annual report and said the Iowa Water Plan needs an update. The report showed climate …

Social Issues

By Phoebe Petrovic for Wisconsin Watch.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Wisconsin News Connection reporting for Wisconsin Watch-Public News Service …

Social Issues

Democrats have struggled to turn "red" rural areas "blue" across the country for years, but some left-leaning candidates won in 2022, raising the …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021