atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2392: And it doesn't take nearly as much training to do.

Here's a letter to the Wall Street Journal about Medicare payments:
I took my Mercury to the Ford dealer and was charged $90 for a "mid-level diagnostic check," in which the mechanic plugs in a computer to get readings from the engine. I asked my office's billing supervisor, "What do we get for an EKG?," for this seems similar to what the car dealer did. In both cases, wires are hooked up to get diagnostic information through a machine that is interpreted by someone. In my case it is a patient, an EKG machine and I, the doctor, do the interpreting. I was told that Medicare "allows" $12.90 for an EKG.

ObamaCare does not address any of this. Is it any wonder that medical students who have, on average, $150,000 in debt to repay (plus interest) are not going into primary care?

Mark H. Gregory, M.D.
It takes no skill to plug an OBD-II scanner into a car's diagnostic port. It's such a brainless task that auto parts stores (AutoZone, O'Reilly's, Advance, et al) will do this as a free service just to get people to come into their stores, in hopes that these people will buy the parts needed to fix whatever's turning on the "CHECK ENGINE" light. It also takes no real training to interpret what the code reader reports, as even a relatively inexpensive code reader will tell you what the code means. "Dang, I need a new Throttle Position sensor!"

On the other hand, hooking up an EKG takes knowledge of anatomy, because there's no convenient diagnostic port on the human body. You need to know where to stick the electrodes and their positioning has a pretty narrow margin of error. Once the EKG has been taken, the doctor needs to be able to interpret what the squiggles mean, and that takes knowledge and experience which are acquired over months or years.

See the difference?

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