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July 8, 2014

Scandal of Unneeded Knee Replacements

Summary:

HR and benefits managers need to wake up: One-third of knee replacements in the U.S. may be unnecessary.

HR and benefits managers need to wake up: As a Reuters report by Will Boggs says in the headline, “One-third of knee replacements in the U.S. may be inappropriate.” Ouch.

But, by today’s surgery standards, the story should come as a surprise to no one.

The article says, “Judging by the symptoms of people with knee arthritis, one-third of knee replacement surgeries may be inappropriate, according to a new study.” The lead author of that study, Daniel L. Riddle from Virginia Commonwealth University, said, “We found that some patients undergo total knee replacement when they have very low grade symptoms or minor knee arthritis….”

That is the point I’ve been making all along: The ethics around surgery in the U.S. are declining rapidly.

It’s time for HR and benefit managers to wake up. Bad surgeons will get worse and worse until you take their patients away.

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About the Author

Tom Emerick is president of Emerick Consulting and cofounder of EdisonHealth and Thera Advisors.  Emerick’s years with Wal-Mart Stores, Burger King, British Petroleum and American Fidelity Assurance have provided him with an excellent blend of experience and contacts.

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