More Popular Than Ever Knee Replacements Don't Always End Chronic Pain

Increasingly popular and with a cost to taxpayers and insurers of more than $40 billion annually, knee and hip replacement surgeries have gone from rare to common -- and the age of those undergoing the procedure is getting younger.

But joint replacements are not always the best approach, according to the Washington Post. In a report Dec.22, Dr. Henry Garlich, director of health-care value solutions and enchanced clinical programs at Blue Shield of California, told the Post the plan is making an effort to add more consultation to those considering joint-replacement procedures.

In 2009, Group Health introduced decision aids for patients considering joint replacement for hips and knees. Blue Shield of California implemented a similar “shared decision-making” initiative.

Executives at the health plan have been especially concerned about the big increase in younger patients undergoing knee replacement surgery, said Henry Garlich, director of health-care value solutions and enhanced clinical programs.

Read the full story, here.