Talking About the Cost of Care

 

 

Stethoscope wrapped around hundred dollar bills

It turns out most doctors don’t discuss costs with patients. Here is what a new study found:

  • The researchers analyzed transcripts of almost 2,000 physician-patient conversations regarding breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and depression treatment. They identified instances in which patients suggested that the cost of care might be difficult to afford and assessed how doctors responded.
  • Researchers noted two ways in which doctors dismissed patients’ financial woes. They either did not acknowledge the concerns patients expressed or only half-addressed them.
  • Doctors discussed medical costs with patients about 30 percent of the time; and, in only about 40 percent of those discussions did doctors and patients brainstorm about ways to make medication more affordable.

Sometimes it seems doctors cannot win. In a system now built for seven minute appointments they are now held responsible for not discussing costs?  But I have seen it with my own family.   Doctors have ordered unaffordable drugs for my son and couldn’t care less that he couldn’t afford it.  This is an issue.

How do you fix this?  Easy.  Direct Primary Care.  My colleagues and I spend a lot of time going over the costs of medicine with patients.  We find them deals using such sites at goodrx.com.  We find them cheaper X-rays, MRIs, stress echoes, etc.   Patients appreciate this and this saves them money and in many ways negates our monthly fee. I had one patient save $150 a month just on her son’s ADD medicine.  It was the same medicine at the same pharmacy.  Her insurance wouldn’t pay a dime so they were paying out of pocket.  Using a coupon, I saved them enough to cover my monthly membership fee.  I did this because I have time and that is because I have less patients.  That is what DPC is all about.

 

83450cookie-checkTalking About the Cost of Care