You better shop aroundApril 24, 2012 @ 8:47 am
Surgeons are very intelligent people. But there is one question that will stump them every time. "Hey Doc -- what will my operation cost?"
And the latest study shows that the reason they have no idea is that hospitals seem to be making it up as they go along. An example from a new UC San Francisco study of routine emergency appendectomies in California:
A woman goes to a hospital in rural Northern California, it was a small incision, appendix out, she was released the next day; the bill - $1,529. Another woman goes to a hospital near San Francisco -- and she also had cancer, but she was there just to have her appendix out -- same small incision, released after one day, HER bill -- $182,955.
Here's Dr. Renees Hsia who helped write the study:
"Hospitals can basically charge whatever they want because there is no guideline or reference. I study this and I'm a physician and I can't figure it out."
CBS's Dr John LaPook has figured it out:
"So you roll into an emergency room, you need your appendix out, how much does it cost? How much you got?"
But Dave you say -- hospitals compete. They advertise all the time -- "Get your surgery done here." Why isn't THAT working?
"Because a patient can't just get up and go down the block and go to another hospital," said LaPook.
Well he could -- if he didn't have a ruptured appendix!
And this doesn't just happen with appendectomies. Other studies show a hysterectomy, gall bladder removal, or a colonoscopy can vary by a factor of 20.
What other industry works like that?
"In the morning she tries to collect the money and says he must pay her $800."
Besides the escort industry in Cartagena?
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