Variability in Surgical Costs - Bill Goes Viral

This article features a patient that posted their $55K appendectomy surgery bill online, and it makes some very interesting points.

The University of California San Francisco researchers set out to find out how much an appendectomy cost in California. The price varied from $1,529 to $182,955. 

The "recovery room" was over $7K for 2 hours. This room charge has always driven me nuts. For an inpatient stay, the patient already has a room they are paying to stay, sleep and "recover" in. That room rate does not get reduced when they are also charged for the "surgical room" to do the surgery, and then they throw in another room or two for "recovery" at massive hourly rates well beyond the cost.

The hospitals cite issues caused by Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs, stating "...a more straightforward pricing system is only possible when reimbursement from government-sponsored patients covers actual costs." They are flat out admitting they are cost-shifting to every other person who treats there to cover government plans. From what I've seen, many Medicare payments are well above what reasonable costs should be; however, there is likely some validity to this point as I'm sure some payments are unreasonable. 

Making pricing transparent (fair to all parties) is critical to the long-term survival of healthcare. Rising's surgical care program resolves all of these issues, eliminating the variability, moving treatment out of the arbitrary hospital system, and paying providers a fair rate, quickly.

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