Medical Schools Teaching Students About Costs of Care

Importance of understanding costs due to ACA, prevalence of high-deductible plans

TUESDAY, Sept. 22, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Many medical schools are integrating discussions of cost, value, and effectiveness into their curricula, according to Kaiser Health News.

The introduction of the Affordable Care Act, with its focus on rewarding doctors for providing high-value care, is one of the factors driving this change, according to the article. In addition, the predominance of high-deductible health plans is spurring patients to become cost-conscious consumers.

Medical schools and residency programs are developing ways to introduce cost and value into their curricula; overall, 129 of 140 medical schools reported offering a required course on health care costs during the 2013 to 2014 school year. The University of California, Los Angeles, has been incorporating these themes into daily lessons. The importance of initiating conversations about cost with older mentors is also emphasized. The information tends to be more meaningful for students and residents once they have seen its direct impact on patients.

"It's becoming second nature for students to consider whether a test is necessary, given its price tag," according to the article. "And that means that in the future, they'll be better prepared when their patients start quizzing them about costs."

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