Hospitals can cut one-third of elective procedures, study finds

One in three health care providers could reduce their elective procedures by one-third, according to a survey of Boston area hospitals released Thursday.

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, conducted the study and surveyed 70 acute care hospitals for the results.

The hospitals were asked to examine elective procedures, and ranks in the order of effectiveness were determined. Surgical procedures, oncology and behavioral health care provided were surveyed.

According to the survey, 68% of the hospitals were found to have a list of elective procedures with fewer than 50 episodes. The remaining 37% had less than 50 episodes each.

“In our letter to hospital leaders, we remind them that they must consider their financial commitments in making these difficult decisions,” said Kvienite Rinn (pictured left), chief nursing officer at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Each incident per patient cost the facility an average of $25,150 annually. Half of the institutions surveyed reported a decrease in their elective procedures spending because of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

According to Matt Connors, the associate chief of quality initiatives at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the motivation behind the measure to analyze the number of elective procedures each institution offers is threefold. First, the cost of certain procedures can be a large contributor to an institution’s operating budget and results in financial losses or “loss of business.”

Secondly, the survey provides an opportunity to assess how health care facilities are operating and develop policies and programs that will optimize care.

“Ultimately, it’s all about having accountability for providing great care at a lower cost,” Connors said.

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