In years gone by, I spent far too much time removing small skin bumps in the office. At the time, I was sharing space with another doctor who was profiting by any service I provided. His staff scheduled me with tons of things that simply made me no money. [Meanwhile his stuff diverted some of my better business into his schedule as opposed to mine.]
The facts of life are that medicine is a business and when I am paying a huge chunk of change to overhead, I need to make that back or I operate at a loss.
Patients frequently don’t understand why I cannot remove their moles for what their insurance pays and make a profit. Well, when your insurance pays for a janitor, you can’t always have a surgeon.
The materials used in the office for surgery (drapes, medications, needles, sutures, blades, instruments, instrument maintenance and sterilization, etc.) are not reimbursed by insurance companies.
A year or two ago, I removed a cyst from a patient’s eyebrow. My costs in materials alone (not counting rent, employees, insurance, etc) were about $65. The insurance company paid $93 and 8% of that went to my billing company. This is no joke.
This is a reason why you won’t see me doing cosmetic dermatology anymore; not at insurance rates anyway.
*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*