The NY Times reports a stitch to sew a wound now tops $500 for a few minutes of care; are there other options?


The NY Times reports a stitch to sew a wound now tops $500 for a few minutes of care; are there other options?

A few short years ago, my son required stitches in his arm (6 to be exact) because a car’s side view mirror hit his hand, and the driver who failed to notice kept on going. The cost was just under $1000 for the visit ($320 for the doctor’s 20 minutes of time and $650 for the facility fee).

Apparently, according to the NY Times, the cost of that stitch has gone up for $500 for a single stitch. If you require stitches, most primary doctors are not equipped to handle these types of injuries in their offices, nor do they want to. On the other hand, some of the walk-in clinics such as Brunswick Urgent Care with locations in Kendall Park and now in E. Brunswick are happy to accommodate these patients for a fraction of the cost. Of course, when your doctor is out, it is likely, they are in, since the clinics feature long hours each day for your emergency needs. Yes, you do have options, and since the doctors have the same training, it will cost you less and they do take most insurance plans as well.

I am sure that other clinics such as these are available since walk-in clinics are springing up like weeds in central and northern NJ.

The value system in our hospitals is clearly broken, and yes, you have options even in an emergency.

Check out the NY Times article

As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500


SAN FRANCISCO — With blood oozing from deep lacerations, the two patients arrived at California Pacific Medical Center’s tidy emergency room. Deepika Singh, 26, had gashed her knee at a backyard barbecue. Orla Roche, a rambunctious toddler on vacation with her family, had tumbled from a couch, splitting open her forehead on a table.

On a quiet Saturday in May, nurses in blue scrubs quickly ushered the two patients into treatment rooms. The wounds were cleaned, numbed and mended in under an hour. “It was great — they had good DVDs, the staff couldn’t have been nicer,” said Emer Duffy, Orla’s mother.

Then the bills arrived. Ms. Singh’s three stitches cost $2,229.11. Orla’s forehead was sealed with a dab of skin glue for $1,696. “When I first saw the charge, I said, ‘What could possibly have cost that much?’ ” recalled Ms. Singh. “They billed for everything, every pill.”

In a medical system notorious for opaque finances and inflated bills, nothing is more convoluted than hospital pricing, economists say. Hospital charges represent about a third of the $2.7 trillion annual United States health care bill, the biggest single segment, according to government statistics, and are the largest driver of medical inflation, a new study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found.

A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to theInternational Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insuranceindustries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them, including California Pacific Medical Center, emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures — closing a wound with a needle and thread — typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more.

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