Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Need Botox? Come on in.

The New York Times cites a study in Dermatology that shows you can get an appointment quickly if you need Botox, but you will wait for weeks if you want to have a mole checked for cancer.

In medicine, we talk a lot about the problem of "access". Well, it looks like access is not a problem for cosmetic procedures. Dr. Kimball, a Harvard dermatology professor summed it up, "This study shows the Botox needs of the United States are being met". That is reassuring, isn't it? I was so worried about the millions of people who have fine wrinkles.

The lead author, Dr. David M. Pariser, president-elect of the American Academy of Dermatology said "We need to look further to find out what is leading to the shorter wait times for cosmetic patients".

Save your research grant, Dr. Pariser. Here is the answer: Just follow the money.

Botox is a quick procedure that requires little skill. The patient pays $400-600 cash. In and out with a smile of gratitude. Contrast that with an office visit for a skin exam. Insurance or Medicare will pay about $75 and the doctor may wait several months for payment after the bill with all the proper codes and documentation is sent.

Maybe an enterprising dermatologist will throw in a free skin exam with the next Botox treatment.


K said...

It is really kind of sad what is truly valued in our society. I mean, sure, we're a bunch of greedy, visually-oriented social apes, but you'd think we'd put a little bit more effort into the whole help-your-fellow-man, physical well-being, practical thing once in a while.

Rich said...

I think the key word here is "cash".

If I were an aging physician I would really think about doing this full time in private practice. What the hell.. you could get cash for your work and not have to put up with all the red tape of working for a large hospital,insurance companies etc etc etc.

Anonymous said...

Some Neurologists also use Botox injections to help some patients with spasticity, so at least it can also be used for non cosmetic medical needs as well.