We Never Claimed to Be Accountants: Survey of Interventional Radiologists and Vascular Surgeons Regarding the Cost and Reimbursement of Common Devices and Procedures
With US healthcare spending projected to exceed $5 trillion by 2022, there is new emphasis on the physician’s role in decreasing healthcare costs. This study quantified the abilities of Interventional Radiologists and Vascular Surgeons to estimate the prices of devices and reimbursement for procedures. All members of the Society of Interventional Radiology and the Society of Vascular Surgery were invited to participate in an online survey asking the physician to estimate the average retail price of 15 devices commonly used in both specialties as well as specialty-specific questions regarding average Medicare procedural reimbursement rates and procedure relative value units. The answers were given in a fill-in-the-blank format and an answer was scored as correct if it was within 25% of the actual dollar amount. Approximately 22 % of those surveyed responded, and the analysis showed that Vascular Surgeons (VS) and Interventional Radiologists (IR) were very similar in their knowledge of device cost, with about 20% of responses falling within the correct range. Across both specialties, more accurate cost estimations were correlated with years of experience, private practice work environment and area of practice with the plausible explanation that physicians with more cost exposure in their practice are likely to be more familiar with how their hospitals negotiate contracts for device-related and procedure-related costs.
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Wang A, Dybul SL, Patel OJ, Tutton SM, Lee CJ, White SB. A cross-sectional survey of interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons regarding the cost and reimbursement of common devices and procedures. J Vasc Interv Radiol 2016; 27: 210-218.
John T. Cardella, MD
VIR Fellow, University of Virginia