The article “A hospital fee, minus just one thing: a hospital” (Page A1, Jan. 27), which highlighted the excessive costs associated with hospital-owned office practices, was thorough and long overdue. However, as a physician who cares for senior patients, I was struck by the way both the reporter and apparently the patient seemed content with the fee of “just” $354 for a dermatologist to squirt liquid nitrogen on three small growths.
My patients, most of whom are over 85, come with a concerned child — someone who wants to speak about his or her parent before and after the visit — as well as a list of multiple problems and an even longer list of medications. This requires considerable time and intellectual energy even for routine visits. Our office can bill, at best, about $100 for such a visit, and Medicare pays considerably less.