Three years ago The Surgery Center of Oklahoma considered buying out a specialty hospital, sponsoring multiple sports franchises, buying daily radio and television advertising, buying multiple physician practices and taking over rural hospitals all over the state. We also thought that we would buy a 500 million dollar computer system to maximize our revenue for the supplies we claim to have used and also use this system to convey confidential patient information to the federal government. We thought we might buy a laboratory we would force patients to use and even consider buying part of an insurance company we would then pay ourselves from. We thought we could do this all the while claiming to not make a profit and convince everyone within ear-shot that we were losing money in our emergency rooms and ICU’s, while we spent millions expanding these ICU’s and actually building satellite emergency rooms in various parts of the city. We had seen others do this and thought we might as well try it too.
Now the truth. At The Surgery Center of Oklahoma we decided to post our reasonable prices online and not charge 600-800 times the cost of drugs we administer to patients at our facility and not mark up implantable supplies by 300-1000%. We decided not to push individuals into bankruptcy with our surgical bills. We decided to keep our administrative staff to a minimum. We decided to keep patient data confidential by using paper, not electronic medical records. We have never run an ad and we provide no corporate sponsorships. We claim to provide no “community benefit” other than what our embracing free market principles provides.
More and more people and businesses are finding it hard to reconcile the poor mouthing antics of the corporate hospitals with their conspicuous spending. Let’s hope this is a trend.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.