SUMMARY: It’s hard to find out in advance what things cost in health care. So why not issue an RFP? If you know what procedure you want or need, and are interested in knowing the prices, it’s a great tool. This is not crazy: My friend e-Patient Dave (aka Dave deBronkart) did this not long ago, with great results.
Here’s the actual RFP (or you can click on the image). Dave, a well-known patient advocate and speaker, is the author of the new book “Let Patients Help,” a patient engagement handbook, in which he shares his considerable expertise.
This RFP resulted from the discovery that he had a new bout of skin cancer in Feb. 2012.
What he wrote: “Summary: I seek a care partner to remove a basal cell carcinoma (BCC) from my left jawline, under the ear. For a brief introduction, see blog post and photo (low quality) at http://bit.ly/ePDaveBCC.
“I’m educating myself about the condition, I want to explore the available treatment options, and I’m “shopping” for a partner to do the work and follow-up with a good combination of quality, partnership, and cost.
“Responses and questions to: email@example.com
Now, this is not for everyone. Dave is a Stage IV kidney cancer survivor, so he has stared death in the face and won. He’s also on a high-deductible insurance plan, so he’s on the hook for major costs.
He first blogged about the skin cancer RFP in a post here.
He blogged about the results in a post here.
He also price-shopped a CT scan for a cancer checkup, and blogged about it in a post here.
I just wrote a post about hospitals and other providers posting their price lists online. Prices for complex care, it turns out, are available. They can vary a lot.
The takeaway: it pays to shop around.
RFP for your cancer treatment? Maybe not for everybody.
RFP for your MRI? Maybe. Your CT scan? That too.
You could use his model for an RFP, or make your own. In any case, let us know the results: we’re at info (at) clearhealthcosts (dot) com.