Show Us The Numbers!


It is absolutely amazing that hospitals can charge people different rates depending on how they will pay.  It is also amazing how the same tests can have ridiculous variability in pricing between hospitals.   A recent study, pointed out here in the Washington Post, said this:

  • Researchers studied charges for a variety of tests at 160 to 180 California hospitals in 2011 and found a huge variation in prices. The median charge for a basic metabolic panel, which measures sodium, potassium and glucose levels, among other indicators, was $214. But hospitals charged from $35 to $7,303, depending on the facility. None of the hospitals were identified.
  • The biggest range involved charges for a lipid panel, a test that measures cholesterol and triglycerides, a type of fat (lipid), in the blood. The median charge was $220, but costs ranged from a minimum of $10 to a maximum of $10,169. Yes, more than $10,000 for a blood test that doctors typically order to check the cholesterol levels of older adults.
  • The smallest range in charges was for a blood test that checks for a protein that signals muscle inflammation. It cost $10 to $628.

Read more if you need to but the bottom line is that this needs to stop.  At least with the Direct Primary Model, you know what you are paying for monthly.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  4 comments for “Show Us The Numbers!

  1. Kurt
    August 27, 2014 at 10:26 am

    “Read more if you need to but the bottom line is that this needs to stop. At least with the Direct Primary Model, you know what you are paying for monthly.”

    Sure, and if you go overboard on ordering “needed” tests on your DPC patients, it’ll come out of your pocket!

    Time for an incentive system that gives very nice discounts to those who take care of themselves instead of trying to “rape” everyone to take of the unhealthy people of this world.

    This its the good ‘ol US of A where anyone can do anything they want. You think we’d have such an obesity/diabetes epidemic if they were listening to the pri care people out there?

    I would bet that greater than 50% of the health problems are due to poor behaviors. Until patients are held accountable, primary care will be held hostage. Kurt

  2. jim
    August 25, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I recently had some outpatient surgery done and was told that a shot I needed before the surgery would cost me out of pocket $836.00. I think they billed the insurance company twice that much. Doesn’t seem quite right.

  3. politovski
    August 24, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    as i have discovered, personally, i had a cbc, tsh, t4, testosterone, cmp done and it was $90, because i paid cash to the lab company (which i think was Quest)

  4. DrHockey
    August 24, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Please tell me those are typographical errors.

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