I read this really cool opinion sent in by a physician to Medical Economics. I had never thought about it buy he is 100% on the money:
Reimbursement is wrong term
Let’s stop using the term reimbursement. It is jargon promulgated by the payers. Why do we use this terminology when it’s clearly designed to favorably look upon them? “Oh, those doctors are getting reimbursed, how nice.” We should take reimbursement out of our vocabulary.
No other business would accept 60 cents on the dollar as “reimbursement.” Try paying $60 for a $100 meal and see where it gets you. No one reimburses a restaurant for dinner.
If I borrowed your car and used a tank of your gas, I’d have to pay you $4 a gallon for the gas I used. That’s reimbursing you. If I paid you $3 a gallon for gas that cost you $4, you wouldn’t let me borrow your car again.
Call it what it is: underpayment for services provided. It’s not reimbursement or negotiated rates (especially when one side doesn’t get to negotiate). Allowing payers to use this ridiculous term as if they are just paying us back for what they borrowed is disingenuous.
ADAM P WHITEHEAD, MD
Carmel, New York