ATHENS – Greek doctors are ordering so many CAT scans and MRI’s that the country’s health care provider said it has become a costly “nightmare.”
The state health insurer EOPYY blamed excessive demands from patients and a lack of restraint by doctors eager to show they haven’t misdiagnosed and said between August 2013 to July 2014, there were 1.01 million CAT scans and 581,000 MRI’s, a combined average of 4,334 daily.
According to EOPYY, between August 2013 and July 2014, Greeks for whom it provided coverage had 1.01 million CT scans and more than 581,000 MRI scans, or 4,334 every day and had cost more than 144 million euros, about $184.4 million.
Dimitris Varnavas, head of the OENGE union representing state hospital doctors, suggested that a decision to scrap limits on where CT scanners could be installed had fueled the number of scans taking place.
“Some 130 new permits have been issued in the last year, triggering an equivalent but groundless increase in demand,” he said, according to Kathimerini. “This has sent costs soaring and bombarded people with radiation.”
According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) most recent report on public healthcare, Greeks had 180.3 CT scans per 1,000 people per year, compared to an OECD average of 125.5, even though Greeks were less likely to go to a doctor.
In Greece there are just four visits to the doctor per capita per annum, whereas the OECD average is 6.7 as Greece has made big cuts in health care costs on orders of international lenders.