A few months after surgery for a painful spinal disk, a woman’s doctor asked her for a sample of urine during a follow-up visit. The routine request turned into a financial nightmare.
— Read on www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/16/584296663/how-a-urine-test-after-back-surgery-triggered-a-17-800-bill

When this couple received a bill for $17800 for a urine drug screen test ordered by their surgeon, they were dumbfounded. In many states, including Tennessee, state government has responded to the rising opioid epidemic by mandating several steps to curb overuse, over prescribing, and dependency producing behaviors. Tennessee law mandates that physicians who prescribe narcotic pain medication in certain circumstances must obtain a urine drug screen sample from their patient.

Insurance companies often deny coverage for this test given its contentious nature. Additionally, since it is a mandated, required test the unit cost often is exaggerated beyond normal market forces that would keep in check the price of a test that a patient could decline. That is, strep tests are not expensive, in part, because patients have the ability to decline them. No one would pay $17000 for a strep test.

While we do not prescribe long term narcotic pain medications, as that is not our medical specialty, we do occasionally need to obtain a urine drug screen on patients during the their course of care. The difference at Trinity DPC is that we work solely for our patients while fully adhering to the ethical and legal standards of our practice, community, and state. Therefore, our urine drug screen tests only cost $15.

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