Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic (DHMC) Mugged Me (Honest)
by Anura Guruge
The two Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic (DHMC) doctors that perform colonoscopys at the ‘Concord Endoscopy Center’ charge $1,600 MORE for that procedure than the non-DHMC doctors performing that same procedure — at the same facility.
You read that right. The two DHMC doctors bill $1,600 MORE to perform the SAME PROCEDURE, at the same facility, as a non-DHMC doctor. The two DHMC doctors BILL $2,957 for a colonoscopy/esophagus procedure.
The Endoscopy center told me last Friday that IF I had had those same procedures done by one of THEIR doctors it would have cost me ~$1,300. The ‘Center’ charges $2,695.44 (non-discounted to the insurance company) independent of whether the procedure was done by a DHMC or non-DHMC doctor.
This is wrong. This is crazy. This is duplicity. This is border line criminal. This has to stop.
As a consultant I fully appreciate differential, what I call ‘Robin Hood,’ pricing. If I had this done at DHMC in Lebanon, with a roomful of students watching, I would not complain. I am paying for a different class of service. Yes, my youngest was delivered at DHMC, in May 2006, by C-section. I was there. There were 13 people in the operating room (and that it was 13 didn’t bother me). A few of the nurses sat on the floor, against the wall, because they didn’t have anything to do. They were just there, in case they were needed. For that, I would pay more.
But, in this case it was NOT a DHMC facility. There were no students participating. There were no DHMC nurses. Whether it was done by a DHMC or non-DHMC doctor, the rest of the staff, equipment and facilities, would have been the same. DHMC is not justified in charging me $1,600 more.
Given the procedure involved, this but a $1,600 pain in the derrière (if you would please excuse my French).
I truly feel that DHMC has mugged me.
To me, this is no different to if the doctor had put a scalpel to my neck, prior to the procedure, and said: “Give us $1,600 more or I will cut you badly.” They duped me. They abused me. They are treating me like a chump.
This is THE PROBLEM with Health Care.
I gather that IF I had called up the ‘Center’ directly, they would have assigned me to the next available doctor — non-DHMC or DHMC. If I had got a non-DHMC doctor, I would have been billed $1,600 less. So now this is like the NH Lottery for colonoscopy in Concord. Get a non-DHMC doctor and save $1,600.
But, I trusted DHMC. So much so that I had already requested paperwork so that they could have my cadaver (per my family tradition that we give way our bodies). Well, screw DHMC. You can’t have my body. You have already STOLEN an arm and a leg. [I will write another post as to why I hadn’t returned the paperwork.]
Till last Friday, it would have been difficult to find anybody who was more of a fan of DHMC that me. And even now I have to say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for nearly all DHMC staff — including the one that performed my colonoscopy. [That he was named after a pope, had nothing to do with it.]
This is wrong. This has to stop. Yes, I am contacting anybody and everybody that I can. I want to see Health Care reform BECAUSE of stuff like this. So please help me by spreading the word. Thank you.
P.S. The Billing folks at the ‘Concord Endoscopy Center’ are beyond exceptional. They, on their own volition have gone the extra mile (maybe a few more) to help me. I thank them. That ‘Center’ on the whole is great too. I also lucked out that they don’t want to see me for another 10 years. Maybe we will have decent Health Care reform by then.