Re: WOT: Healthcare! Healthcare! More! More!
- From: Mary <mrfeathers@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2007 15:22:24 -0700
On Jul 2, 4:54 pm, Jane <JaneH...@xxxxxxx> wrote:
The prices for things like CT scans are artificially high
because of the third-party payer system. Every other form of
technology we have goes DOWN in price the longer it hangs around.
Medical technology is the only kind that goes up, and that's directly
related to the fact that you're NOT paying for it.
The third-party payer system is one of the reasons that CT scans are
artificially high. Another reason is that most medical facilities and
hospitals in the US are badly managed. I have a friend who spent a
year and a half at a local hospital - and it's a great hospital, they
do wonderful work - and he left, still shaking his head at the extent
to which they had NO IDEA what it costs them to administer even the
most routine of tests.
Like the CT scan mentioned above. Typically, in a business, you'd buy
a big piece of equipment like the CT scanner, or whatever it's called,
and you depreciate it over a period of years. Say, five years and the
machine is completely depreciated. At that point, the only cost is
the cost of running it and any needed supplies - the machine is
completely paid off.
But as you've noted above, they don't do that, and as a result they
don't know what their costs are, and if you don't know what your costs
are, you can't base your customer pricing on actual costs. It's
market driven, and in this case, they CAN over charge the customers
because what the hell, it's the insurance company that will get the
bill, so they do.
Which means that the hospital's not going to go belly-up, but at no
point does anyone get control of costs and try to manage them. No one
is motivated to do so. The hospital's OK, and the insurance company
is fine, because they make damn sure that they charge more for
premiums than they pay out in costs.
The loser is the patient, whose co-pays and out of pocket expenses
keep going up because it's either pass it on to the customer or reduce
the insurance company's profit margin.
I've often wondered what our costs would be if they were based on what
it really cost to do things. I have no problem at all with paying
doctors a lot. We rely on their knowledge and ability. But I have to
believe that if hospitals were managed better, we could lower costs
and still make good care available to the people who were being served
A disgruntled business manager
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