A Surgeon Who Also Pierces Ears — For $1,877: Examining Wasteful Use Of Medical Care
ProPublica continues its investigation of unnecessary medical treatments and their role in driving up the cost of health care. And Stat looks at how the "value" movement is reshaping the health industry, and a New Hampshire doctor raises questions around electronic record keeping.
A Hospital Charged $1,877 To Pierce A 5-Year-Old’s Ears. This Is Why Health Care Costs So Much.
Two years ago, Margaret O’Neill brought her 5-year-old daughter to Children’s Hospital Colorado because the band of tissue that connected her tongue to the floor of her mouth was too tight. ... During a pre-operative visit, the surgeon offered to throw in a surprising perk. Should we pierce her ears while she’s under? O’Neill’s first thought was that her daughter seemed a bit young to have her ears pierced. Her second: Why was a surgeon offering to do this? ... Only months later did O’Neill discover her cost for this extracurricular work: $1,877.86 for “operating room services” related to the ear piercing — a fee her insurer was unwilling to pay. (Allen, 11/28)
Seven Ways Patients Can Protect Themselves From Outrageous Medical Bills
Experts in reducing charges for medical services say patients need to push for detailed answers up front about the true costs of their care. (Allen, 11/28)
'Value' Is Medicine's Favorite Buzzword. But Whose Definition Are We Using?
Backers of the value movement believe the entire medical system — and every transaction within it — must be based on this seminally important five-letter word. But a survey released Wednesday by the University of Utah shows that, in health care, value has no universal meaning — 88 percent of doctors equated value with quality care, while patients and employers provided a more nuanced definition, mixing in measures of cost, customer service, and worker productivity. (Ross, 11/29)
Do Doctors Need To Use Computers? One Physician's Case Highlights The Quandary
Do you need computer skills to be a competent doctor? That's one of the central questions surrounding a difficult case unfolding in New Hampshire this month: Anna Konopka, an octogenarian doctor who eschews computers and has been practicing medicine for the better part of six decades, surrendered her license under a September agreement with the state's board of medicine — partly because of multiple complaints related to her record keeping, Merrimack Superior Court Judge John Kissinger said. (Dwyer, 11/28)