As an advocate of free market principles in healthcare, I’ve pushed for clear transparent pricing for all sorts of services.  Naysayers argue that in the time of crisis a patient shouldn’t be asking “How much to treat my heart attack at that hospital?”  I agree.  However, a large amount of healthcare is not delivered during a crisis.  And as non-emergent prices drop, so will other prices.  A bag of saline shouldn’t change price just because it’s given in the ER versus the office setting.

The University of Michigan healthcare site now lists prices for many common office visits, advanced imaging studies, and procedures.  While these prices aren’t really that good, it is a good start.  Prices get better when the seller, in this case the hospital system, has to tell the buyer, in this case a patient wanting healthcare in U of M’s system, because this gives the buyer a chance to say “Are you nutso? I can get that CT scan of the abdomen without contrast for $250 from my DPC physician.  I’m not going to pay $1442.”  That’s how the free market works.

CT U of M

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that virtually all of U of M’s preventative visit prices for each age group would cover either all or most of the cost of a year’s worth of membership.  Our pediatric membership is only $348/year which includes the well child visit AND ALL OTHER VISITS FOR ALL OTHER REASONS TOO!   Additionally, U of M’s pricing doesn’t include labs which drives up the cost more.

Preventative Visit pricing at U of M

Seriously, you should check out their prices.  A lipid panel for $135?!  Even with the 40% uninsured discount that’s a rip off.   I can buy a lipid panel for less than $3 which is why I don’t charge for it but include it free with membership.

lipid panel at U of M

So the tide is changing.  U of M has put all other hospitals and major medical centers on notice.  They will be posting their prices too and then we get to compare.  Feel free to compare them to my prices too. 

One thought on “The tide is changing

  1. Great article, Dr. McColl!

    I expect this is what we’ll see from other hospitals as Ms. Verma and CMS push hospitals to post prices.

    Just goes to show how tremendously valuable DPC is. Not only financially but also clinically.

    Regards,

    John Chamberlain, LFACHE
    Citizen Health

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