|A girl’s got to make a living…|
If you recall, Dr. J. discussed with frustration that there isn’t a good alternative to the ER if a patient needs to get tanked up with IV fluids due to a GI bug. The thrust of his concern was that he felt that such a simple need can be done more easily at smaller expense, but regulations, billing and overhead make the ER the best solution available. This is not to disparage ER docs, but rather to say that they’re needed for more complex issues than this in Dr. J.’s opinion.
Dr. J. got the bill (well the estimate of benefits) for Mrs. Dr. J.’s ED visit.
In other words, the ER visit comes out at costing about $1600 more than Dr. J.’s estimate of doing things at ‘cost.’ Dr. J. does not disagree that an institution, especially his own, should be allowed to make money, but he thinks that if medicine were considered a commodity with high deductible plans (perhaps everything over the first $5,000 per year, just to keep it simple), these costs would come down and the final cost would lie somewhere in the middle, say around $1500 for the experience. Market forces, rather than artificial estimates should be the order of the day.