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.
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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.