Alert
Close

Last chance – give now. Before 2014 ends, help struggling seniors. Donate

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

AARP REALPAD

Introducing RealPad by AARP

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Some Stents Do More Harm Than Good

Billions may be wasted on questionable uses of the devices

Unscrupulous doctors

In fact, there is so little self-regulation of this procedure that some doctors have wildly abused it. In Baltimore, John R. McLean, M.D., was convicted of six counts of health care fraud after a jury heard he had inserted stents in more than 100 patients without medical justification.

St. Joseph's Medical Center in Towson, Md., had to notify more than 500 patients that its former chief of cardiology, Mark Midei, M.D., might have performed questionable stent procedures on them. Midei, who has since lost his medical license, once implanted 30 stents in a single day, investigators found.

Other cases of improper procedures have been reported in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Texas, suggesting that this may be just the tip of the iceberg, experts say.

Redberg agrees doctors may not have sufficient incentive to follow guidelines, and has called for Medicare to quit paying for useless interventions. She also wants to see more informed discussion with patients about the risks and benefits of drug therapy versus stents. "That would help a lot, because clearly the recent data shows that patients are under the impression that stents are better for preventing heart attacks," she says.

Redberg agrees with Chan that a fee-for-service system that pays doctors for the number of procedures they perform needs to change. "We're spending almost $3 trillion a year for health care, and you wonder, how did we get here?" she says.

"When you pay a lot of money for doing a lot of expensive procedures, you get a lot of expensive procedures," she says. "We're not differentiating between the ones that help people feel better and the ones that aren't."

Michael Haederle is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in People, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

AARP membership discount Man trying on eyeglasses at optometrists smiling

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at LensCrafters.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

member benefits adt companion

Members save on new installation of a ADT Companion Service® personal emergency response system.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points