In past articles, I addressed the efforts North Texas Medical Center (NTMC) has made to enhance patient safety & improve the quality of care, as well as increasing patient satisfaction and adding new service lines. In today’s article, I want to share some of the things we have done to improve the accessibility of healthcare from a cost perspective.
It is no secret that healthcare can be expensive. The causes for this are many, but some of the more commonly cited reasons are heavy regulation of the industry by the government, the high cost to develop and employ new and ever evolving medical technology/medicines and the complicated multi-layered billing and collection process that can confuse even the most experienced professional. While we do not have much local control over the first two items mentioned above, we have employed a strategy to simplify the billing process for a variety of services offered through NTMC and thereby reduce the cost of those services.
To accomplish this, North Texas Medical Center has teamed with MDsave.com to offer healthcare services in a model that is easy to utilize and offers fair upfront prices. MDsave is an online marketplace where all patients, regardless of whether they have insurance or not, can purchase services such as office visits, x-rays, lab tests and even some surgical procedures at a very reasonable price. The pricing is clearly listed on the website and unless stated otherwise, includes all the various components that are normally billed separately. Patients only pay one inclusive price with no surprise bills after the appointment.
In essence, we are able to offer lower pricing through MDsave because we are giving a discount for prepayment. When a patient gets an order from their physician, they can log on to MDsave, select North Texas Medical Center as the provider and find the service they need. Once they find the item, they are able to purchase a voucher for the service. MDsave will then notify NTMC and we will reach out to the patient to schedule the service. Once the voucher is purchased, the patient doesn’t have any additional billing to worry about. That’s it. No complicated explanation of benefits. No forms asking about other insurance. Just a simple experience to obtain what you need with great pricing.
Currently, North Texas Medical Center has 305 services available through MDsave and we are adding more on a regular basis. The services purchased most often through MDsave are imaging procedures such as MRIs, CTs and mammograms. Lab tests are a very popular choice as well. You may also purchase procedures such as colonoscopies, appendectomies and gallbladder removal thru MDsave. Our most recent addition to services available for purchase through MDsave is bariatric surgery (surgical weight loss).
Patients can save a considerable amount by purchasing healthcare services from NTMC through MDsave. As an example, an MRI without contrast is now only $384 if purchased from NTMC through MDsave. Gastric Sleeve surgery (a surgical weight loss procedure) is priced at only $8,905. These prices represent savings of hundreds or even thousands of dollars when compared to the cost of the same services obtained through other providers and standard billing and collections methods.
Due to the prevalence of many high deductible health plans, one of the primary questions we get when advising patients about their options to purchase services from North Texas Medical Center with MDsave.com is, “Can I use MDsave if I have insurance?” The answer is yes, anyone except those on Medicare and Medicaid can purchase procedures on MDsave. However, MDsave purchases are self-pay and are not submitted directly to your health insurance. You may be able to apply your MDsave purchase to your insurance deductible, but you would need to contact your insurance company for eligibility details.
In summary, we want the community to know that North Texas Medical Center is doing everything we can to deliver the highest quality of care and offer our services at the most economical rates we can. If you or your physician has a question about the services offered at North Texas Medical Center through MDsave, please call us at 940-612-8391 and we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.