Business pushes screenings despite guidelines

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Jeff Baillon, a reporter for KMSP-Minneapolis/St. Paul, saw Life Line’s ubiquitous mailers (here’s the one AHCJ’s Gary Schwitzer received) in which former Olympian Peggy Fleming urges people to go in for medical screening and decided to take a closer look at the company. Ohio-based Life Line sends a van to local neighborhoods and offers a variety of tests for a few hundred dollars.

Baillon and his crew, who went undercover for the occasion, found that the Life Line scans were so quick (as short as four minutes) that they wouldn’t yield good pictures, and would be more likely to turn up false positives and miss real problems. They also covered scans, like carotid artery scans, that guidelines generally advise against, and made no mention of government guidelines when scanning patients, even when prompted. For its part, Life Line, a for-profit business which screens about a million people every year and suggests tests even for low-risk groups, says they don’t “trick” customers and, in fact, actually help save lives.

Baillon’s piece:

(Hat tip to Gary Schwitzer)

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