Colonoscopies at Hospitals Cost Medicare 164% More Than Offices

Colonoscopies cost Medicare 164% more when they’re performed in a hospital outpatient department rather than independent physician offices, according to a recent report by Physicians Advocacy Institute and Avalere.

The study showed the stark disparity in payment between settings based on ownership. “Hospital consolidation pushes healthcare costs upward,” said Robert Seligson, president of Physicians Advocacy Institute. “The impact of hospitals owning outpatient practices places a greater financial burden on Medicare beneficiaries and on taxpayers.”

My personal opinion is that for healthy patients of almost any age, Medicare or not, the outpatient office-based solution is more convenient, less costly, and adheres to the same quality standards as the hospital. I’ve had patients comment that they were in and out of the office in less time than it took them to park at the hospital, and they would never consider going back there for a routine colonoscopy.

There are some things that a smaller scale operation achieves more efficiently. Cost is certainly one item, but attention to the individual patient–the thing most lacking in institutionalized medicine–is the biggest factor.

-Manoj K. Mehta, MD

See the article in Becker’s ASC Review here. 

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