patient and dermatologist chat

Listen carefully.

A doctor and a patient are discussing costs over on the epatient blog.

The ePatient is Dave de Bronkart; recently he issued an RFP for the treatment of what looked to be skin cancer on his cheek.

The doctor happens to be a dermatologist, who’s challenged some of Dave’s statements, and added to the conversation by talking about the way interactions look from the perspective of the person in the white coat.

Is the cost $3,000 or $700? Does the diagnosis bring a price tag of $200 or $150,000?

Head on over and take a look.

Here’s a sampling: “As a ‘small practice’ – lots of derms seeing lots of patients but essentially completely off the radar of the insurance companies compared with a major health system – we have ZERO negotiating power with companies. I mean ZERO. We just finished meeting with them asking for a 5% increase in reimbursement, they said we are getting the standard 2% – and yes the ‘patients’ health insurance premiums also went up by 2% – oh, wait, sorry 20%, if we don’t like it we can stop seeing their patients. End of Story.

“When you get seen in a hospital – those guys have negotiating power – an Insurance company is providing a service – they need doctors to see their patients. If some of the major players in whatever town you are stop seeing their patients then the Insurance company has a product that can’t offer any services – i.e. no good.

“So a visit that I get paid $75 for , a big hospital will get paid $150 for from the insurance company. We have a contract with the insurance company which means we accept what we get paid – i.e. we don’t go asking the patient for an extra $75.”

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...