Rising Cost of Medical Care.

Discussion in 'Political Discussions' started by Terry O'Keefe, Sep 24, 2023.

  1. Terry O'Keefe

    Terry O'Keefe Well-Known Member Administrator

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    I remember Stu commenting one time that in Mansfield that they hadn't had a new MD in his field in a while who wasn't an employee of the Hospital. So this article sort of hit a nerve. I wonder if Stu's old group has sold to one of the Hospitals?

    What I don't understand is how when a Hospital buys a Physicans office it suddenly becomes an outpatient department and they can raise the fee's and Medicare and other Insurances will pay more for those services than if they would when it was previously just a private physicians office.
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    A relatively new source of rising health care costs is causing concern among physicians like me. Large health systems are buying up independent physician practices left and right. The doctors continue to provide the same health care services, usually in exactly the same place. But then they charge more for those services.

    Many doctors, worried that rising costs make it harder for our patients to get care, are calling for action from Congress.

    Hospitals are buying other hospitals, of course, but they’re also quietly buying small physician practices. More than half of physicians today work for health systems and hospitals. That means patients are getting less care in their regular doctor’s office and more at what hospitals deem “outpatient departments” — which, according to Medicare rules, can charge more.

    It’s important to note that this shift hasn’t been shown to necessarily increase the quality of care that patients receive. It does, however, increase the cost. One study found that, on average, when a physician’s office was acquired by a hospital system between 2007 and 2013, the prices increased by 14.1%.

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    This clearly isn’t fair. Our current system allows, and actually incentivizes, big hospitals to buy up independent doctors’ practices, slap a new sign on the front and start charging more. Your local physician may now be owned by a large hospital or health system, while that hospital or health system charges you more for the same service.

    People seeking the health care they need to live and thrive shouldn’t be charged differently just because of where they receive care. It just makes sense that the same service should cost the same price. But that’s not the case.

    In 2023, Medicare is charged 194% more for a transthoracic echocardiogram with image documentation in a “hospital outpatient department” than in a regular lone doctor’s office. For an epidural injection in a lumbar or sacral region, Medicare is billed $255.89 if the service was provided in a physician’s office, but $740.88 when provided in a hospital outpatient department.

    It’s not just Medicare recipients who pay more. When hospitals acquire physician offices, they often bill privately insured patients an additional “facility fee.” When they tack on this fee, the average price for a biopsy jumps from $146 to $791. In Texas, an ultrasound nearly quadruples in price.


    Houston doctor: The sneaky reason American medical bills are rising
     
  2. Stu Ryckman

    Stu Ryckman Well-Known Member

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    Been going on for a long time. My personal family practice physician sold out to the hospital but still gives real good personal care to his patients. Problem is that I have several medical issues involving care from specialists…all owned by systems and all pretty corporate.

    My old group is still independent.
     
  3. BuckeyeT

    BuckeyeT Well-Known Member

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    The whole thing healthcare, insurance is a giant goat f**k and I truly don't have a clue how to fix it, but I'm certain that ignoring it is unlikely to work. The numbers are staggering. Unfunded liabilities in Medicare/SS are in excess of $78 Trillion as compared to our current $27 Trillion GDP - almost $250K for every man, woman and child alive in the country today. Just as an aside I recently had a hernia repair, quick outpatient type of thing. I was in the facility for 3.5 hours for the whole deal - prep, surgery, recovery, postop. Just got most of the bills.....$35,000 and we haven't heard yet from the anesthesiologist. $10,000 per hour......:eek:
     
  4. George Krebs

    George Krebs Well-Known Member

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    Our primary physician practice was sold to Hackensack Meridian, the largest hospital group in New Jersey a few years ago. Still have our favorite Doc who we both like and trust but the support operation is huge, cumbersome, redundant and impersonal.
     
  5. Terry O'Keefe

    Terry O'Keefe Well-Known Member Administrator

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    It's happening in Dentistry as well. Not hospitals buying of course, but Hedge Funds / Corporations buying practices.

    Centralized purchasing, etc. Also spread sheets and meetings to evaluate performance of the practice.

    It's very expensive to open up a practice today compared to when I did. Back in my early career everybody I graduated with had there own practice within a couple of years. Now it is much more difficult.