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Here’s why choosing an independent doctor saves you money…

July 21, 2016

Here’s why choosing an independent doctor saves you money…

Dear Patient:

Congratulations on choosing an independent doctor for your care. Seeing an independent doctor – rather than a doctor employed by a hospital—is one of the very best ways you can lower your medical costs and help your community.

Here’s why choosing an independent doctor saves you money:

When you see a doctor employed by a hospital, the hospital bills for that doctor’s services at hospital rates. If you have a medical procedure, those rates are much higher than what independent doctors charge because the hospital tacks on what’s called a “facility fee.” This fee adds absolutely no value, but can increase your cost by three to four times.

The same holds true for centers that provide services such as outpatient surgery or imaging (MRIs, CT Scans, X-rays, and mammography). Going to an independent surgery or imaging center will cost you less, sometimes one-fourth the price, of going to one owned by a hospital. This is why we do our best to refer you only to free-standing, independent facilities. Hospital-employed doctors are bound to send you to hospital-owned centers.

Many studies that have looked at the impact of hospitals acquiring independent doctors’ practices and facilities have found that these mergers drive up health-care costs dramatically. Everyone pays. Patients pay more out of pocket. Workers pay higher premiums, and more taxpayer dollars have to go to fund programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

How it helps your community:

Finally, independent practices are small businesses that support their communities. They provide jobs and pay taxes. When hospitals acquire these private practices, office workers often lose their jobs. If the acquiring hospital happens to be a nonprofit, the taxes the practice used to pay into the community go away, because nonprofit hospitals don’t pay taxes. These tax-exempt hospitals don’t pay income, property or sales taxes, so communities lose those funds.

What’s more, hospital-employed doctors answer to administrators. Independent doctors remain free of those conflicts. In our practice, our focus remains on you.

Unfortunately, figuring out which doctors or outpatient facilities are independently owned and which ones aren’t can be tricky. You have to ask. Another way to find an online doctor is by searching for one in your area by specialty at www.aid-us.org/directory.

But rest assured, by choosing our practice, you’ve chosen wisely. Please make sure your loved ones do, too.

Sincerely,

South Carolina Internal Medicine Associates