Doyle and his co-investigators based their findings on more than two years of corresponding professional charges, insurance payments, patient bills and direct payments. Overall, they relied on 7,740 secondary interpretations.
Younger, uninsured patients received higher bills and paid more for second notices. At the same time, black people and those with government-sponsored insurance faced lower costs than white patients and commercial policyholders.
Doyle and colleagues noted that many radiology practices use secondary interpretations as an additional source of income. The average professional fees for these exams were $ 306.50, with insurance reimbursement reaching $ 108.02.
Based on institutional data, however, patient out-of-pocket payments did not fully cover costs in 68% of situations, the authors noted, suggesting that “many” people may have difficulty settling down.
Organizations that use secondary reading to bolster their bottom line should keep this in mind. But more research also needs to determine whether one-time payments prevent patients from future headaches.
“What remains unknown … is how much downstream savings could result from better clinical decision-making related to secondary interpretations and whether these upfront costs for patients may ultimately result in an overall reduction in financial burdens for patients. insurers and patients, ”the group concluded.
Read the full study in the American College of Radiology’s peer-reviewed journal here.