Letters to the Editor

William Hooper: Health care too costly

Thanks for printing Matthew Aitken’s Dec. 6 Point of View “The health care swindle.” He touched on a very important topic, and I urge The N&O to do more in-depth research and reporting on the current economics of systems delivering medical care to consumers.

We have reached the limit of people’s ability to cross-subsidize other patients who cannot pay. The whole medical delivery system needs to be re-engineered to give people incentives to stay healthier and to much more cost effectively deliver top-notch care when it is needed.

Simple examples abound.

A patient needs a routine thyroid ultrasound. The doctor refers the patient to the local hospital ultrasound department. Patient schedules a nonemergency, routine ultrasound that takes five minutes. Gross billing is $750 before insurance discounts if the patient has insurance.

Instead, why didn’t the doctor advise the patient to go to an outpatient facility where the same ultrasound gross billing would be $250 before insurance? Why didn’t the EMR system prompt the doctor on the alternative facilities and costs?

Again, thanks for printing Aitken’s article.

William Hooper

Durham

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