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Balance Testing A New Gimmick With No Value

Balance testing for seniors

There are at least 5 things wrong with this Balance Testing offering for seniors that I (and presumably many other doctors) received in my mail this week. Perhaps you can think of more:

What is this thing? Balance is a big problem for seniors. A patient might think this is a high-tech, evidence based devise for diagnosis and treatment. Since the Medicare patient is far removed from paying the cost, it would be easy for a physician to do balance testing on all of his senior patients.

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"Medicare reimbursement $475-700 per exam ( takes 20 minutes with no technician)."
Guess what? Medicare is insolvent. Broke. Bankrupt. Medicare doesn't pay doctors or hospitals the cost of care. Why would Medicare reimburse this at that rate? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

"5 minute serial evaluations to assess treatment" means the doctor can churn and churn and bill Medicare $475-700 over and over as you retest the patient to see if your treatment (?) is working.

"You can prevent falls in your patients if you know the problem". Through comprehensive physical exam, blood testing and evaluation, I diagnose balance problems all the time. They are multifactoral and very very hard to treat in elderly people. The VatENGplus doesn't add to the solution and may well divert money away from much needed primary care.

This is another "technology" that is offered to doctors as a legitimate way to increase revenue because Medicare doesn't pay enough for thinking, diagnosing, evaluating and caring for patients without gimmicks.