Are you being overcharged by your surgeon?

Posted: 12 May 2017 3:24 pm

Doctor performing surgery

That colonoscopy might be more costly than you think.

Australian consumers are having to deal with a wide degree of variance in the costs and treatment of eight common procedures, a recent report has found.

The Surgical Variance Report 2017, a joint project of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and Medibank, was commissioned to provide greater transparency about the variations in cost, length of stay in hospital and readmissions for eight different surgical procedures: laparoscopic cholecystectomy, hernia, gastric banding, gastric sleeve, bowel resection, gastroscopy, colonoscopy and colonoscopy (with polyp removal).

“The Surgical Variance Reports aim to prompt important discussion across the healthcare sector about the different outcomes and experiences patients can have when they need surgery,” said Medibank chief medical officer Dr Linda Swan.

The study found that undergoing colonoscopies could cost Australians anywhere from $1,153 to $6,308, with an average out-of-pocket cost of $272 for the procedure. The report also found that 32% of patients were discharged on the same day.

“These reports bring to light for surgeons the variations in different procedures within their speciality, particularly in the private sector. From this data, for example, we can see there’s a lot of variability in the length of the hospital stay, which may be the result of factors beyond just the patient’s characteristics,” Dr Swan said.

Use the table below to review the average out-of-pocket costs for each procedure by state.

The data for the report was composed of de-identified Medibank claims data from the 2015 and 2016 financial years, which was then analysed by that RACS.

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