June 03, 2012

Surgery Center Posts Prices of Procedures

Given the uproar over the lack of transparency of surgery prices, it was only a matter of time before an operating facility in the United States (oversea facilities have already done so) takes the step of posting the cost of surgery... a set cost that is exactly what a patient pays. Complete cost transparency.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is an AAAHC accredited facility since 1998 and has over 40 participating surgeons. And they are the first that I'm aware of that has taken the step of posting the cost of surgery on their website. The caveat being the cost shown ONLY applies to those who do not have health insurance.

On their website, they state:
"Transparent, direct, package pricing means the patient knows exactly what the cost of the service will be upfront. Fees for the surgeon, anesthesiologist and facility are all included in one low price. There are no hidden costs, charges or surprises."
Keep in mind that this cost is NOT just the surgeon's fee, but also includes the anesthesia charges as well as facility charges. Read more about such charges here.

So what are the charges? They have it all posted on their website!

But below is a list of charges for ENT procedures as of 6/3/12 (surgeon, anesthesia, and facility charges all bundled into a single charge). The webpage also includes prices for general surgery, orthopedics, urology, ophthalmology, etc.

I wonder if other facilities in the United States will start following suit???

Thyroidectomy$ 6,160.00
Lymph Node Excision / Biopsy$ 2,255.00
Myringoplasty$ 2,400.00
Bilateral Myringotomy with tubes$ 1,700.00
Tympanoplasty$ 5,060.00
Tympanoplasty - Mastoidectomy$ 7,050.00
Mastoidectomy$ 6,640.00
Inner Ear - Stapedectomy$ 5,390.00
Ossiculoplasty$ 5,060.00
Cochlear Implant$ 8,800.00
Foreign Body Removal$ 1,500.00
Bilateral SMR Turb$ 2,700.00
Sinus / Turbinates 1 side$ 3,795.00
complex$ 4,950.00
Sinus / Turbinates both sides$ 4,510.00
complex$ 5,885.00
Septoplasty$ 3,550.00
Septoplasty and Sinus/Turbinates$ 5,060.00
Nasal Fracture Simple Closed$ 1,900.00
Nasal Frature Complex Open$ 4,015.00
Tonsillectomy$ 3,050.00
Adenoidectomy$ 2,695.00
Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy$ 3,695.00
Adenoidectomy and BMT$ 3,300.00
Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy and BMT$ 4,400.00
Frenulectomy$ 1,600.00
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty$ 5,445.00
Diagnostic Laryngoscopy with biopsy$ 2,970.00

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.


Dan Schwartz, Editor, The Hearing Blog said...

This is Old News: Please see Medical tourism: '5-star' care at a discount
from December 21st, 2009 at:
where SCO is discussed on the second page.

So, Dr Chen, will you be posting your prices for cash-paying patients?

Dan Schwartz,
Editor, The Hearing Blog

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Fauquier ENT said...

It is "NEW" news when it is for within the United States... Granted, it is "old" news as it pertains to medical tourism.

And I DO post prices on my website on common procedures that I often see for patients who are cash-pay only. For procedures that I hardly (if ever) see for self-pay patients, I don't bother. See under billing policies on the website as well as under individual procedure webpages like for tonsil cryptolysis and turbinate reduction (both less than $1000 which I may add is more than 50% cheaper than the surgery center described above).

However, given I am in private practice... I have no idea or control over anesthesia or hospital charges as I am completely separate from both entities. Anesthesia and hospital does not share such costs with me... even when I have asked in the past.

Also... you spelled my name wrong.

Dan Schwartz, Editor, The Hearing Blog said...

Dear Doctor Chang,

First, apologies for spelling your name wrong.

Now, on to Surgery Center of Oklahoma: In fact, I was approached by a broker for them in October 2009 for my own CI surgery.

Secondly, as you can see from the 12/21/2009 San Francisco Chronicle article, in fact SCO's services are specifically for uninsured or underinsured. Also, from the article, you'll see that it's an anesthesiologist who is the managing partner:

Anesthesiologist Keith Smith, managing partner of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, is an exception. His center performs as many as 700 procedures a month in Oklahoma City. Smith does a lot of business with Canadians but even more business with Americans he thinks are getting a rotten deal.

Smith started posting his prices online when he saw he could beat rates in India, Costa Rica and other popular medical destinations. He said his center's rates for surgeries are up to 90 percent cheaper than nearby nonprofit hospitals.

Competing hospitals "are not going to publish their prices online because it would be meaningless," he said. Hospitals offer discounts to insured patients "so the uninsured patient is going to wonder why they're not getting the same price," Smith said, adding that hospitals "don't want to publish these prices because then everybody knows how ridiculous it is."

For example, cochlear implants that can bring hearing to a deaf baby cost about $25,000. But Smith said hospitals mark up the device to $75,000 and then charge $25,000 for the 90-minute surgery. He charges no markup and $8,800 for the operation.

Dan Schwartz,
Editor, The Hearing Blog

Follow The Hearing Blog on Facebook

NB: Your video demonstrating your Vivosonic Integrity ABR was impressive, and I trained on it in March. I'll be adding it to my own practice in the 12-18 month timeframe.

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