Patients Must Educate Themselves About Health Care Costs

While the rising tide of  health care costs has been a subject of discussion for some time, media attention has recently brought into sharp focus a major component of that rising tide:  hospitals charge much, much more for outpatient services, and insurers and Medicare let them.  So hospitals have been buying up private doctors’ clinics, whose existing patients see a huge jump in the amounts billed for identical services, overnight.

We at RNI are dedicated to providing the best possible care, while remaining independent.  Are you aware of how seemingly-trivial business arrangements between doctors and hostpitals can affect your costs?

53% of Consumers ‘Oblivious’ to Healthcare Costs

Paul H. Keckley, PhD, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, says that’s the case.  Add to this, he says, that “Only one in 10 is inclined to be price sensitive.”  Patients generally follow the path of care recommended by their doctors, unaware of how that advice might be influenced by the doctor’s employment by a hospital that charges much more for services available elsewhere.  (Read the full article for more details.  See also this New York Times piece on the pressure doctors are under to meet their new employers’ financial expectations.)

For a doctor’s perspective on the predatory competitive behaviors of hospitals, see Dr. Craig Wax’s telling of his experience trying to maintain his “privileges” (permission to see patients) at three hospitals which have, like all hospital chains, become rivals rather than resources as they buy up private practices similar to Dr. Wax’s.

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