After I wrote about Bronchodilator Reform as a quest post at Respiratory Therapy 101 last February, I decided this post needed a follow up. And thus is what inspired the following post:
Bronchodilator Reform: Part II
By Rick Frea: February 25, 2009 @RespiratoryTherapy101
So we are in a healthcare crisis caused mainly by skyrocketing healthcare costs. Perhaps one of the culprits of this crisis is something RTs have been vying against for years — bronchodilator abuse. Shockingly, few have listened to our cries for reform. Perhaps, however, money will talk.
While important officials often go to hospitals looking for procedures and therapies that are no longer needed in order to save money, never do they set their beedy eyes on the respiratory therapy department where millions of dollars are wasted every year on frivolous treatments.
While Ventolin breathing treatments may not be the only cause of rising healthcare costs, they are a major contributing factor. In a pithy manner I will explain.
By now you know Ventolin is ordered by many doctors for all annoying lung sounds, and many patients who are short of breath regardless of the cause. That is what they do despite the fact Ventolin is ONLY indicated for shortness of breath due to bronchospasm.
Now you might be asking: what do useless breathing treatments have to do with the healthcare crisis. Well, consider the following.
Where I work treatments cost $84 a pop. I estimate (on the conservative side) that 80% of Ventolin treatments ordered are not indicated and thus are non-beneficial to the patient. You can see, Houston, that we have a problem.
You do the math. Say the average hospital gives 40 breathing treatments during one 12 hour shift. That’s a total daily profit just from Ventolin treatments of $3,360. So you can be certain here we will not have hospital adminstrators on our side in our battle for bronchodilator reform.
But, when you consider who is paying the cost, officials might want to be aware that (80% of $3,360) $2,688 each day is going to this one non-indicated procedure. Multiply that by 365 and you gett $981, 820 wasted on Ventolin Abuse at just one hospital.
Multiply that by all the rest of the hospitals in the U.S. and that’s a lot of wasted money. Plus, mind you, I’m being conservative. The actual amount of money wasted on Ventolin therapies is more likely much higher.
Yet, still, when important officials go to hospitals demanding cuts in un-needed procedures, rarely ever do beedy eyes peer into the RT department.