The American Osteopathic Association is advocating for hospitals and other healthcare facilities to give patients an advance estimate of what their total costs will be for scheduled procedures. The association also wants that estimate to include whether ancillary fees for laboratory, imaging and pharmacy services are covered by patients' insurance.
This decision is the result of efforts by two Ohio doctors who called on their own experiences
to craft a resolution (PDF)
that was approved last weekend by the AOA House of Delegates at its annual meeting in Chicago.
“Patients should be focusing on their recovery after a medical procedure, not worrying how to pay for costs not disclosed prior to treatment,” Dr. Cleanne Cass, a family physician in Dayton
, said in a news release.
Dr. Jennifer Hauser, an emergency and family medicine physician in Tipp City, said she was prompted to work with Cass on the resolution after her husband received a surprise bill for thousands of dollars for anesthesia and laboratory services from a recent surgery.
Cass, whose son received a similar surprise pharmacy bill after a recent hospital stay, said that the hope is to put pressure on regulators, hospitals and insurance companies to reveal these hidden costs and let patients know what they will be responsible for.Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks