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OB/GYN Pushes Doctors To Think About Cost

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 15, 2013

And although her concerns are starting to be heard, she says, often, "when I present the information I have, people just look at me, maybe not like I'm crazy, but they ask, 'Why do you care about this? Insurance pays for it. This is how the hospital makes money.'

"I know, but that's still not the right thing to do. We should be good stewards of our healthcare dollars," she says. "Doctors want to do the right thing. They just have these habits, and aren't aware of the costs."

Demosthenes, a blogger and supporter of the Cost of Care project, a non-profit seeking to empower patients and caregivers to "deflate their medical bills," last fall tried to gauge whether the healthcare reform law's goals to reduce cost and improve quality was a message that was getting through to providers.

So she surveyed 88 residents, faculty, community physicians, and midwives on staff at the six-hospital Greenville Health System network. Of the 50 who responded, 75% underestimated costs of caring for two hypothetical patients, she says.

For example, only 4% correctly guessed what her hospital paid for Epifoam, and only 2% knew the cost of Cervidil.

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