The Hospital Price 3 Card Monte Game

Hospitals across the U.S. should be posting prices of standard services online this month.  “The reporting must list every item and service by the hospital, as well as any charges related for them as it is represented in the hospital’s list of official rates.”  But here is the catch – none of it is real. Since each hospital bills the insurers, Medicare and Medicaid differently there is no ONE price. Here is the statement from one Texas hospital:

“Pricing does not reflect our financial assistance and charity care policy, and could vary by individual patient and by facility,” a spokesperson issued in a statement. “We encourage those who are seeking or scheduling care to contact us for the pricing that is right for you.”

What the hell does that even mean? It’s a 3-card Monte game!

My only hope is that patients shop around. They can look at the Surgical Center of Oklahoma and let’s force them to get these prices down!

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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] 

  2 comments for “The Hospital Price 3 Card Monte Game

  1. Sir Lance-a-lot
    January 7, 2019 at 6:50 am

    Doug, you may want to get in touch with the blog provider or your domain provider – your https security certificate is coming up invalid, and the browser is warning viewers away.

    • Doug Farrago
      January 7, 2019 at 8:19 am


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