Doc Wonders if Health Care Reform Will Include Prevention

North Texas doctor says it saves money and lives, but wonders if it will ever be covered

By Lindsay Wilcox
|  Wednesday, Nov 18, 2009  |  Updated 3:51 PM CDT
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Doc Wonders if Health Care Reform Will Include Prevention

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In light of the new mammogram recommendations handed down this week, a North Texas doctor is questioning whether prevention will truly be a key part of health care reform.

"I make money on my traditional cardiology practice, where people come to me when they already have a heart problem. Once they have a problem, insurance is covering them, and I'm taking care of them, and I'm doing angioplasty and procedures, but here, on the the prevention side, there's no code for prevention," said Dr. Akram Khan, of the Center for Preventive Medicine in McKinney.

The battery of tests Khan runs range $1,200 to $5,000. He said one in three patients has an identifiable problem. If untreated, many of those problems lead to heart attack or stroke and six-digit medical bills.

Khan spends most of his day trying to detect cardiovascular disease before it causes problems. But the tests he runs are not typically covered by insurance.

So, even though he said prevention and early detection can save lives and money, his McKinney practice is not profitable.

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