Before his three-hour neck surgery for herniated disks in December, Peter Drier, 37, signed a pile of consent forms. A bank technology manager who had researched his insurance coverage, Mr. Drier was prepared when the bills started arriving: $56,000 from Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, $4,300 from the anesthesiologist and even $133,000 from his orthopedist, who he knew would accept a fraction of that fee.
He was blindsided, though, by a bill of about $117,000 from an “assistant surgeon,” a Queens-based neurosurgeon whom Mr. Drier did not recall meeting.
“I thought I understood the risks,” Mr. Drier, who lives in New York City, said later. “But this was just so wrong — I had no choice and no negotiating power.”
…In an increasingly common practice that some medical experts call drive-by doctoring, assistants, consultants and other hospital employees are charging patients or their insurers hefty fees. They may be called in when the need for them is questionable. And patients usually do not realize they have been involved or are charging until the bill arrives.
The practice increases revenue for physicians and other health care workers at a time when insurers are cutting down reimbursement for many services. The surprise charges can be especially significant because, as in Mr. Drier’s case, they may involve out-of-network providers who bill 20 to 40 times the usual local rates and often collect the full amount, or a substantial portion.
RTFA. It’s long, detail and difficult to stomach. So much of modern medicine – especially if you need specialized care and treatment to maintain what passes for a normal life – is extortion.
I’ve been fortunate to know a number of physicians in my life who are dedicated to the original tenets of the Hippocratic oath. I’ve met some greedy bastards like those in this article. They are as contemptible as Bernie Madoff or, say, a lawyer whose dedication to “providing constitutional rights” to the scumbags of the nation pays for a new Ferrari every four or five years to go with their country club subscription and greens fees.
They are thieves in the same class as Congress.