A new study from the University of California, San Francisco, funded by the federal government, lists 12 specific items physicians can use as a ‘mortality index’ to help them determine whether screening tests, medical procedures, medications, and other treatments, are worth the costs entailed for people older than 50, especially for those patients who are unlikely to live 10 more years.
Using a point system, the 12 different risk factors are tallied. They include an individual’s age, gender, weight, body morphology, smoking habits, previous cancer diagnoses, exercise tolerance, lung disease, heart failure, self care, money management, diabetes, and ‘other’ considerations. The more points a person has, the higher the chance of their dying within the next decade. The worst score is a 26, with a 95 percent chance of dying within 10 years.
Utilizing this point system, Doctors are then provided a relative ‘mortality index’ that helps these physicians decide which tests, procedures, and medications are cost effective versus a patient’s projected future life years. Patients then, may, or may not, receive health care, ongoing medical treatments, hospice, or hospitalization, based on these scores.
A quote from one of the study’s authors, stated that this index was not meant to provide information that might be used to alter a patient’s lifestyle, and thus improve their scores and longevity, but rather to allow the Doctors to best preserve their medical resources, as measured by the patient’s remaining productive years of life.
This ‘mortality index’ is suspiciously like the ‘QALY’ used by the British National Health Service to DENY care, to those otherwise healthy patients whose estimated future financial contribution to the State, does not equal the cost of their care. In Britain, they estimate that a Quality Adjusted Life Year ( a year of your life adjusted for “quality”, i.e., meaning how sick you are), is worth about $45,000.
With Dr. Donald Berwick (Obama’s recess appointment as Chief of Medicare and Medicaid Services), being a big fan of the ‘QALY’ and the British NHS; can a federally mandated Malthusian justification for strict medical rationing really be far behind?