They Want It to Be Secret: How a Common Blood Test Can Cost $11 or Almost $1,000 – The New York Times

I offer this test for free to our Trinity DPC patients four times a year. It’s so inexpensive for me to purchase wholesale that it’s not worth the hassle to bill for it.

Huge price discrepancies like that are unimaginable in other industries. Also unusual: not knowing the fee ahead of time.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2019/04/30/upshot/health-care-huge-price-discrepancies.html

USA Today: Doctors, providers must provide patients treatment cost information

Trinity Direct Primary Care offers unparalleled price transparency.  Patients always know the cost of care received through our office.  Here are few of the highlights:

  • All office visits, phone calls, emails, and communication with the physicians and staff are always free.
  • All in house labs like strep tests, flu tests, and EKGs are free.
  • Most common labs used to manage chronic issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are free four times a year.
  • All other labs are offered at 60-90% discount.  A short list of lab prices is available at Trinity Direct Primary Care Lab Test Pricing Guide
  • Xrays are $30.
  • Advanced imaging like CT scans and MRIs are 60-90% off retail.  We verify the cash price every time we order a test to insure our patients understand the cost before having the procedure done.
  • We have multiple sources for discounts on medications including our own proprietary dispensary as well as knowledge of the best local prices, access to national discount cards, patient assistance programs, and an insurance free mail order pharmacy that offers wholesale or free medications.
  • Access to major surgery centers that don’t accept insurance and offer steep discounts off traditional pricing.

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Health care providers must acknowledge patients’ financial concerns. The path forward requires cultural changes that normalize cost conversations.
— Read on www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/12/03/doctors-providers-provide-patients-treatment-cost-information-health-care-column/2077749002/

I hate it when patients get ripped off

As so many of us are aware, the cost of healthcare, basic primary care, is skyrocketing.  Patients are at the mercy of the industry pricing and they rarely know the cost before deciding to seek care.  Many times the charged price is 10 times as much as the negotiated rate set by insurance companies and 20 times as much as the lab test actually costs to perform.

I joined the Direct Primary Care movement in 2016 to help patients find lower cost options for their healthcare.  TDPC’s parent company, Trinity Medical Associates, has been innovating new ways to lower the cost of care for our community for years.  Direct Primary Care has become a powerful force benefiting patients regardless of insurance coverage.  When we are able to push the price lower everyone benefits.

In our program, we’ve been working with our national lab vendor to seek out lower cost prices.  How has this worked out?  So far we’ve been able to secure 60-90% savings off most all labs and many common labs are now so inexpensive for us to purchase, we provide them for free with membership.

For instance, the standard labs I use to manage diabetes like a Hgb A1c, a lipid panel, a kidney and liver function panel, and an insulin level are all free four times a year.  That’s the normal follow up schedule for diabetes.  These labs are so inexpensive it felt like the right thing to do to give them to patients without cost.  I mean, I don’t charge for checking your blood pressure either.

Recently, one of my colleagues showed me a price list for common labs available to his patients.  Generally, these prices are already at a discount from what is charged by medical practices so retail pricing might be even higher.  I’ve overlaid the prices for my practice for comparison.

Lab price comparison

 

Well, you can see for yourself the cost differences in what you might pay somewhere else and the savings you’ll get through the Trinity DPC program.  By lowering the cost of labs, patients have better access to primary care services regardless of insurance coverage.  They can monitor and manage their chronic illnesses easier and, maybe, those illnesses become a little less chronic.  Complications of these illness could improve which would lead to less death and disability in the people about whom I care.  How much better would it be to not need dialysis or an amputation?

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If you take this price list in total, the cost of all the labs through the Trinity DPC program is only $165.  Through the regular, insurance based system the cost is $2562.74.  Imagine meeting your deductible every year just because of the cost labs.  We can offer patients a  $2397.74 discount, a savings of 93.6%, just by avoiding the price fixing scheme of modern healthcare.  What would you do with an extra $2397.74 in your pocket each year?

-Dr. Mark B McColl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Price Transparency

Transparency means being able to see through to something else.

In the world of medical economics and primary care, price transparency is almost non-existent.  It is very hard to find the prices of labs, procedures, and office visits prior to having them done.  Direct Primary Care is changing all of that.

Today we have published a list of our current prices for all non-covered services and labs. So much of what we do is built into the membership price and doesn’t cost any extra for patients to utilize.  For those items not covered, we always want patients to know the price ahead of time.  Whenever a patient needs a particular test or service, we always take the time to quote an up to date price and allow the patient to make their own informed decision as to the benefit and value of the test or service.  We believe patients should be fully informed about their care.

Check out our list of prices at the link below.  If there is a particular test or procedure you are interested in learning more about, then please give us a call or ask your DPC physician at your next visit.

Price Transparency

 

True Price Transparency in Healthcare is Key

True Price Transparency in Healthcare is Key
This article discusses a cost containment study which showed that by allowing patients to have options concerning the cost of their healthcare they were able to reduce the expense without any perceived loss of value. That is, when patients are told how much healthcare services cost, then they tend to choose the less expensive options and are equally satisfied with their care.
With Trinity’s Direct Primary Care program we offer every patient a simple and clear discussion on the cost of their care. Much of a patient’s need is covered in the membership but when patients need care outside of the membership we can help them understand where to spend their healthcare dollars the most effectively. Besides, we can get our patients MRIs for around $700 which is nearly 70% off the standard billed price found at most radiology groups.
Are Your Healthcare Prices Outrageous? Here’s What Happens When Prices Come Out Of The Dark http://ow.ly/irG9307Ucaj