money-mattersThat’s a question recently posed on a website blog that touts services medical cost savings for consumers. It’s an interesting and poignant question.

Of course, the presumption is that a person trusts their doctor or medical provider with their physician health, otherwise they would seek different care. We put our trust in their training and expertise to examine, diagnose and treat properly. However, medical providers often admit they are “in the dark” when it comes to how much healthcare services cost. This is often certainly true of medical providers who are employed by hospitals.

According to the blog (written by a physician), half of the 900,000 physicians in our country are employed by hospitals where the CEO tells them where to send patients – their hospital and nowhere else. In fact, the writer is very thorough in the process of how he sees it done:

The hospital administration tells the physician where to send his or her patients. There are hospital employees paid to track where doctors send patients for care. This is also tracked by the electronic medical record (EMR). A physician is required to electronically place an order for a test, such as an MRI, in the EMR. The only option listed within a hospital EMR is the physician’s hospital MRI facility, the most expensive MRI in the region.

If a hospital-employed physician chose to send a patient outside his or her hospital system for an MRI in the above example, the EMR would require the physician to answer more questions. The EMR would “red flag” this physician for referring outside the hospital system that employed him or her. Doctors can be reprimanded and even fired for sending a patient outside their place of employment. After all, why do you think the hospital bought the doctor’s practice? The answer is to control patient flow by having patients stay within their hospital system, at any cost to you, even if it bankrupts you, to enhance hospital revenue.

It’s unfortunate for consumers that, if the above is true, there is someone outside of clinical medicine who is literally calling the financial shots — shots that affect you, your budget and your pocketbook. No one wants to be beholden by the type of control where you may be “forced” no matter the cost in order to enhance and add to a business entity’s bottom line.

That’s why independents, from imaging centers to physicians, exist. We are the cogs in healthcare that can bring down costs. People deserve alternatives. Two or three large, humongous medical entities as options can’t be good for the community as a whole. And no one entity should own everything.

Can you ever think of a time when consolidation resulting in perhaps one, two or three choices resulted in costs decreasing to the consumer?

Choose independent and save. You are no longer a patient. You are a health care consumer with potential significant out-of-pocket expenses. Although you can trust your doctor with your physical health, you should be asking yourself if you can trust your doctor with your financial health.

We hope the answer is yes. But, if you’re continually being referred to a hospital, that answer is probably no.

In the end, often times the only person that looks out for you is you. However, in the area of medical imaging, trust Diagnostic Imaging Services to be your low-cost provider for exams that are pertinent to your health. We do one thing and one thing very well: medical imaging.

It’s  your choice. Say YES and spend LESS at DIS.