Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Price List for Medical Tests
As I wrote before, the ostrich excuse just won't fly any more. We all need to be aware of the cost of care and have skin in the game. Some will argue that price can't be the only driver. I've heard physicians say you can't compare one price to another because "quality" costs more. I say prove it. If you have a quality product or are a higher quality physician, show us the results. What are your outcomes? Is your customer service better? Is it worth the higher cost you charge? Let's be transparent and let the patient determine what something is worth.
Separate from physician fees, however, is the variability and wide ranges in costs of similar tests. I hear from my patients who have high deductibles and pay first dollar coverage for their health care. I frequently order a screening Vitamin D test and found out the patient was billed as much as $200 for one test. A colonoscopy can cost as little as $1100 and as much as $2600. That is a huge price variance. What about ultrasounds and MRI scans? The variation in price is astounding.
Dr. Parker says he "wants doctors to think about the cost of the things that they are doing." "We're not saying don't give patients what they need" , says Parker. "We'll fight hard to get them what they need, but please don't give them what they don't need - we just can't afford that anymore."
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