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Monday, June 24, 2013

The $46,000 Question

Which of these Cardiovascular Surgical Suites looks to you like it is worth a $46,000 bill?  They all look remarkably like the room where I recently underwent a Dynamic Cerebral Angiogram to take 3D pictures of my carotid arteries and the associated pseudo aneurisms.  Less than an hour for the procedure.  Seven people working on me -- from the neurosurgeon to the several nurses to the technicians to the radiologists taking the pictures.

I have to be honest, I was petrified a few days before the procedure.  Which is not really like me.  I was extremely anxious and had a hard time taking deep breaths.  You see, the procedure has to be done while you're awake.  They provide some amount of sedation but because of the high risk for stroke or damage to the arteries, the neurosurgeon has to be able to communicate with you during the procedure to be sure that he hasn't done anything neurologically damaging to you.  
Day of the procedure?  I was in a much better place.  In spite of the fact that they began the procedure 4.5 hours late.  I maintained with the help of LoverBoy and our good friend Alan who stayed all of the 12 hours at the hospital with me -- plus our buddies Scott and Robert who are both medical professionals and stopped by to check in on me.  I found the whole thing quite intriguing.  And the pain?  Next to none.  I couldn't believe it.  They poke a hole in your groin, run a catheter up inside your carotid arteries of your neck and you don't feel a thing.  Wow.  This is a great day and age that we live in.  But back to my original question -- $46,000?  Wow.  Wow.  Wow.  And remember, this was simply to take the 3D pictures.  This was not to actually fix the issue .... which is coming up within the next few weeks.  And the neurosurgeon tells me that I can expect to have these sorts of procedures off and on for the remainder of my life.  May I leave you with the statement that I'm quite thankful for my insurance coverage. 


building bridges said...
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building bridges said...

I have been through some similar medical procedures recently also. I would be completely sunk -- up shit creek without a paddle -- without health insurance! I am hoping and praying that the Dr.s will find resolve so that you won't necessarily have to be going in that often over the coming years. Life, health and peace to you my friend!

anne marie in philly said...

sweet mother of pearl! thank bob for good insurance and competent medical staff. one look at a room like that and I think I would lose it.

smooches to you and your sweet hubby and mason.

Blobby said...

Was the $46,000 the billable charges or the actual amount paid? Usually, while the hospital will bill the entire rate, it is not the contracted rate.

This is done for any number of reasons, mostly based on a Medicare Fee Schedule (yes, even if you don't have Medicare). Medicare - for physician services, not technical services - pays about $.028 on the dollar. So billable charges might be higher to get a better reimbursement.

Private insurers do similar things, but for large companies, have a contracted reimbursement rate, regardless of what the billable charges are.

Ur-spo said...

I am thankful you are doing OK !

The New Flops Boy said...

How are you doing? I recently had to have ANOTHER abdominal surgery...to remove a benign cyst from my pancreas, probably a result of the removal of the spleen three years ago. Ugh. Doing better, get staples out Tuesday.

You are in my prayers.