Kelly Carson, writing for Watchdog.org here, praises the leader of Oklahoma County’s group health plan (Jon Wilkerson) for the success of their arrangement with our facility. I thought it might be informative to summarize the nature of our “arrangement” with Oklahoma County. Ready? We provided a list of procedures and prices and said basically, “here is what we do and what we charge for it.” The “contract” is all of two pages, other than the pricing page which is attached.
We have contracts like this in place with many self-funded companies or through their benefit administrator (third party administrator) now, all of them essentially a handshake type of agreement. More businesses every day are sending us their employees for various surgeries in the absence of any agreement, knowing that dealing with us fairly guarantees their continued access to our facility and our pricing. Many times my office feels like a “situation room” where the requests from individual patients and self-funded companies with employees they are trying to help appear on my Outlook faster than I can type in response!
While this movement is truly radical and transforming in healthcare, more and more facilities are joining this effort, so many now that I predict this will be seen as the normal way of doing business in the healthcare industry very soon. The momentum is definitely with those of us who are willing to provide (or display!) healthcare pricing. Soon, even those whose livelihoods are most threatened by honest healthcare pricing will embrace transparency or face the loss of patients and business to those of us who are transparent. This has already started with false claims of price transparency by many of the large corporate hospitals, not unlike when a legislator claims to be “conservative,” while clearly and openly auctioning off his/her vote to the highest bidder. Perception is not everything, as these big hospitals are finding out.
While the beauty of the market is demonstrated with the best allocation of resources and the mutually beneficial pricing from true competition, the power of the market is also something to behold, a power that is bringing the health cartel to its knees and will neuter the heavily bribed D.C. power brokers. To see the corporatist healthcare scam is to end the scam. Even as a fan and believer in the power of the market, I am amazed at the deflationary effect the posting of prices has had and will continue to have, this price movement serving to shine a very bright light on the scammers. Needless to say, the hundreds of thousands of dollars saved by Oklahoma County in just the first few months of our “contract” has opened many previously closed eyes to the possibility that “robbery” is too soft a word to describe their past arrangement with the cartel players.
In a new effort, I am creating video blogs, links to the first of which are below. I decided to initially focus on a discussion of how the cartel’s scam works. Many of you following this blog have reblogged and shared my thoughts, opening the eyes of countless individuals to the healthcare scam in this country. If you have done so, you are truly part of the team that has begun the demise of one of the most corrupt public-private partnerships that has ever existed. I thank all of you for your support in this effort.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.