We’ve all heard the sayings ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ or ‘don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.’ This is true for everything from routine oil changes to your daily workload. In a nutshell: procrastination benefits no-one.
Now there’s an easier way to address medical issues that not only saves you aches, pains, and lost work, but money as well. The Healthcare Bluebook is an online resource with one simple goal: “By combining the best cost and quality data with industry-leading usability, Healthcare Bluebook provides people and organizations with everything they need to be more effective healthcare consumers.”
Like the automotive Kelly Blue Book and other consumer research portals, Healthcare Bluebook’s overall aim is transparency. They pride themselves in researching “the reasonable amount you should pay for a medical service. It’s calculated from a nationwide database of medical payment data and customized to your geographic area [and includes] a deeper dive into specific clinical categories to provide more detailed and accurate quality rankings. With quality transparency, you can rest assured you’re always getting the highest quality care for the best price.”
In Western Washington, Longview’s Pacific Surgical Center (PSC) offers clear, transparency pricing on many outpatient procedures. As an outpatient surgery center, they’re a one-stop-shop for pre-surgical lab work, MRI scans, minimally invasive procedures, and follow-up care. With skilled physicians, dedicated financial counselors, and an array of educational patient resources, PSC will soon join the Healthcare Bluebook’s vetted listings of quality medical care.
This openness means issues like sports injuries can be addressed before they become lifelong or debilitating. At PSC, “Surgical treatment for medical issues affecting your life should not be put off because it is prohibitively expensive. Also, you have the right to know what affordable surgical care is available to you. At PSC, we believe in total transparency… and that our patients are best informed and empowered by knowing the true cost of their care up front.”
The Healthcare Bluebook found staggering differences in the cost of care across a state or region. Their researchers report that “the cost for the same in-network procedure can vary by over 400%.” The inspiration for the Bluebook, as reported by CEO Dr. Jeff Rice, sounds all too familiar to many parents.
“When Jeff’s son was 12 years old, he needed foot surgery. As Jeff was setting up the surgery, he found out that the facility costs were going to be over $15,000. In discussing the surgery with his son’s doctor, he determined that the surgeon also operated at another facility that had excellent quality and that facility’s price was only $1,500. Same surgery, same surgeon, vastly different price.”
At Pacific Surgical Center, not only can you find prices listed up-front, but you can request a specialist online, in advance. These doctors are “board-certified and board-eligible physicians performing advanced surgical procedures, specializing in orthopedics, urology, gastroenterology, podiatry and general surgery. Each physician is highly educated, trained, and skilled. In addition, we have some of the most experienced surgeons in the area. Our nursing staff also has extensive experience, with many nurses having both operating room and recovery room certification.”
Americans seldom buy a TV or a used car without shopping around. We compare prices, read consumer reviews, and scour the internet for information. Now imagine being able to do the same in one place with your medical needs.
This is what the Healthcare Bluebook provides. One clear-cut example is their interactive map showing colonoscopy costs, in hospitals versus ambulatory surgery centers (ASC), in all fifty states. The simple click of a mouse shows that using an ASC instead of a hospital for this procedure will save you more than $1,300 in Washington State alone.
The American Psychological Association reports that “Stress about money and finances appears to have a significant impact on many Americans’ lives. Some are putting their health care needs on hold because of financial concerns. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans say that they have either considered skipping (9 percent) or skipped (12 percent) going to the doctor when they needed health care because of financial concerns.” Thanks to the Healthcare Bluebook and clinics like Pacific Surgical Center, you can tackle your issues without dreading post-operative sticker-shock.
If you need a medical test, service, or procedure, consider running a Fair Price Search on the Healthcare Bluebook. Then contact Pacific Surgical Center online or by calling 360-442-7900. Staff can walk you through the entire process and schedule a visit when it’s convenient for you.