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Comment & Response
March 2, 2021

The De-adoption of Low-Value Health Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Scientific Committee, Foundation Allineare Sanità e Salute, Milan, Italy
JAMA. 2021;325(9):887-888. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.25515

To the Editor In their Viewpoint,1 Dr Powers and colleagues analyzed 3 forces governing de-adoption of low-value care: evidence, eminence, and economics. A common denominator underlies them: the interest and convenience of the health care producers, providers, and purchasers. Fee-for-service creates strong incentives to continue delivering low-value but profitable care and technological abuse.2 More generally, it incentivizes provision of services with a profitable differential between the production costs and the fee applied by purchasers. The production cost is physician- or hospital team–specific, based also on specific skills and preferences, whereas the applied fees are not hospital- or physician-specific, further limiting targeted tariff policies. Aligned with pressure from patients and induced by technology producers and professional societies, fee-for-service multiplies outputs, which translates into financial and career benefits for hospitals, physicians, and producers. Therefore, low-value care for patients and society can be of high value for the producers, hospitals, and physicians selling it. A distorted rewarding model for health players puts the health systems in structural conflict of interest with health.3

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