Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wide variations in charges for special lenses

25.04.2012
Some ophthamologists charge 8 times more than others

A new study has found huge variations in what ophthalmologists charge for a device used in one of the most common surgeries in Ontario.

While universal insurance covers the cost of cataract surgery and implanting an artificial lens, some ophthalmologists charge extra for implanting a special lens deemed not "medically necessary" or for related tests. This would include lenses that correct refractive issues such as farsightedness.

Those "add-on" fees varied substantially, with some ophthalmologists charging as much as eight times as much as others for the same product, said Dr. Chaim Bell, a physician and researcher at St. Michael's Hospital.

Dr. Bell said he believes his telephone survey is the first of its kind in this area. He got an 88 per cent response rate from eligible ophthalmologists and 100 per cent from those who would discuss prices by phone.

His results were published today in the peer-reviewed open-access journal PLoS ONE.

He found a majority of cataract surgeons charged less than the maximum $1,144 recommended by the Canadian Ophthalmological Society for a toric IOL (intraocular lens) with IOLMaster biometry (measuring eyesight post-surgery).

But some charged more than $1,000 more than what could be considered reasonable or fair -- which may represent "predatory pricing" and a "market failure," he said. This is of particular importance because the overhead costs of cataract surgery are universally covered by a government payer and those surgeons who set prices at the high end of the range may earn more from the added charges associated with specialty lenses than from performing the operation itself.

Dr. Bell said one implication of his study is that patients should do comparison shopping and recognize that certain charges associated with surgery may be "marked up" for profit and not cost recovery. But he said this was not easy, because some cataract surgeons would not discuss prices over the phone.

"Given the large price variation we observed, it would seem the market for specialty lenses is a striking example of the difference between classical and medical economics," Dr. Bell said.

Dr. Bell said his research has implication for policymakers.

"We have identified highly variable pricing for similar and often identical products and services," he said. "Potential solutions to protect that patient as consumer in this context would involve making the prices publicly available or regulating prices through a third party such as a publicly funded hospital or through legislation."

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael's Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital's recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Center, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

For more information or to interview Dr. Bell, please contact:

Leslie Shepherd
Manager, Media Strategy,
Phone: 416-864-6094 or 647-300-1753
shepherdl@smh.ca
St. Michael's Hospital
Inspired Care. Inspiring Science.
www.stmichaelshospital.com
Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/stmikeshospital

Leslie Shepherd | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.smh.ca

Further reports about: Ophthalmologists eyesight post-surgery special lenses

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

X-ray scattering shines light on protein folding

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Looking at linkers helps to join the dots

10.07.2020 | Materials Sciences

Surprisingly many peculiar long introns found in brain genes

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>