Lindsey Tanner, a writer for the Associated Press has written a piece on the waste of resources that anesthesiologist-administered propofol for colonoscopies represents.  This departure from the tried and true cocktail of Demerol and Versed had to happen for a reason, though.  That’s where Ms. Tanner misses the real story.  She focuses on the amount of money that is wasted on the anesthesiologists.  What is wrong with these journalists?  What the hospital charges for this new “Michael Jackson” experience is where the real money is.  

It is no coincidence that the first to jump on this money-making bandwagon here in Oklahoma City was one of the “not for profit” hospitals.  Having just hired a bunch of gastroenterologists, this hospital had to generate some new revenue to cover this move.  R(eturn).O(n).I(nvestment). in the business world.  Gastroenterologists in the operating room, instead of a non-sterile procedure room in the medical world.  

If you’re looking for a great example of who and what is responsible for the high cost of health care in this country, it’s not the gas-passing anesthesiologists, but rather the marble and glass “not for profit” facilities that fleece the hardworking and sick with scams like this.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.