Penny wise and dollar foolish

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It has been said that a cynic knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing. By that standard, we seem to have a fairly cynical government these days. Consider: While long-term care providers are under increased pressure to account for every penny received and spent, billions in unnecessary healthcare spending appears to go largely unnoticed, according to a study in the April 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Investigators found that that the high rate of rehospitalizations accounted for an estimated $17.4 billion in potentially preventable healthcare spending in 2004 alone. Nothing wrong with making sure every package of bandages is properly coded. But what about the billions lost to unnecessary rehospitalizations? Seems like that might be a good place to start taking a closer look.