Dr. Elliot A. Heller responds to the New York Times Article – “The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill: Colonoscopies Explain Why U.S. Leads the World in Health Expenditures”
Dear DDAR Patient
My colleagues and I were extremely disappointed to see the New York Times article unfairly blaming colonoscopies for our nation’s growing healthcare costs. We’re very concerned about the negative impact this article could have on patients getting screened for colon cancer. Studies have shown that death due to colorectal cancer has been reduced by 53% in the United States as a result of screening colonoscopies. The New York Times article failed to note that early detection by colonoscopy results in millions of dollars of cost savings to the nation’s healthcare bottom-line, money that would otherwise be spent on the care and treatment of patients with terminal colon cancer.
We at DDAR go to great lengths to provide cost-effective delivery of high-quality care to our patients. Having your colonoscopy procedure at an office-based surgical (OBS) facility is a real quality value. Nothing is compromised, as all Office Based Surgical (OBS) facilities, like our DDAR endoscopy suite, are accredited and must adhere to the same standards for quality, infection control and patient safety as any Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) or Outpatient Hospital Facility.
Lastly, we’d like to note that the federal government, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has placed a priority on eliminating all barriers to getting Americans over 50 years of age to have a colorectal cancer screening procedure. Colonoscopies are on the short list of procedures for which insurance carriers cannot impose cost-sharing requirements, such as co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles. This means your carrier should provide you with first dollar coverage for your screening colonoscopy.
The New York Times article was biased in holding colonoscopies responsible for the rising healthcare costs. The only cost we see regarding colonoscopies is that it could cost you your life by NOT being regularly screened.