The public radio program Marketplace has a piece today about how "medical students learn the cost of care, outside the classroom" of Jefferson University in Philadelphia. The students run a free clinic for homeless patients, and they "decide which drugs to stock and what lab tests they'll pay for."
"[Student director Christine] Feldmeier: Wounds on his feet, vision problems, a documented history of uncontrolled diabetes for years." Following standard processes that would be applied in almost any hospital, the volunteer resident, who was also the doctor in charge that night, wanted to send out for a lab test called an A1C. But Feldmeier refused the request, saying "[w]e didn't need a number to tell us okay this guy's diabetes is not good. Another med student pointed out that "taking a patient's history can often be as revealing as a lab test" (Warner, 7/22).
Related, earlier KHN story: Teaching Doctors The Price Of Care (Okie, 5/4)