ECHO Prioritizes Cost-Effective Care
At ECHO, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality care in a cost-effective manner. But what exactly does that mean? Below are answers to some of the common questions that people may wonder about when determining the best option for care.
Is the cost of cancer care the same wherever you go?
No. There are several factors that influence the cost of care. This includes whether a physician practice is owned by a hospital, insurance coverage, and/ or additional fees that are charged above and beyond the cost of care.
At ECHO, we know that every dollar matters. That is why we are upfront about the cost of care, work with your insurance provider to help facilitate coverage, and do not include additional fees. Our billing department is available to help patients understand costs and we work hard to ensure that there are no surprises.
What does the term “facility fee” mean?
You may have heard this term before. A facility fee is a charge that you may have to pay when you see a doctor at a clinic that is not owned by that doctor. Facility fees are charged in addition to any other charges for the visit. Facility fees are often charged at clinics that are owned by hospitals to cover the costs of maintaining that facility and cover overhead costs, such as equipment, space, and support staff. Sometimes these are not referred to as facility fees and may have a different name.
If you have a procedure at a clinic that is part of a hospital, there may be a higher or additional charge that goes to the hospital. If you were to do that same procedure at a practice that is not owned directly by a hospital, you would not incur this fee.
Sometimes, you may not realize that there are additional charges until you are billed after the fact. Also, these costs are not always covered by insurance.
Does ECHO charge these added fees?
No. ECHO is an independent practice that is not owned by a hospital. Even though we are located within Backus Hospital, we are not owned by them. Therefore, we do not charge a facility fee, which means you may receive the same service at a lower cost.
For example, we now perform electrocardiograms in our office. If this same procedure was done in a hospital setting, the cost would likely be 2-3 times more.
What if I have trouble covering the cost of care?
We know facing a cancer diagnosis can be stressful, not to mention the financial burden. Our ECHO Foundation is a unique, non-profit organization dedicated to providing support services, guidance, and education to cancer patients and their caregivers. Our goal is to address each patient’s individual needs so that no one lacks care or comfort while living with cancer.
The Foundation is funded by generous corporate, business, and individual donations. Our Foundation can help patients who require financial assistance with transportation, food, supplies, and other necessities.
What other ways is ECHO is a cost-effective choice?
We offer our patients the convenience of laboratory testing right onsite. This can lead to a cost savings compared to commercial labs.
We also have an onsite medical dispensary. This allows us to provide prescriptions at a comparable or lower cost, with added convenience. A new analysis from America’s Health Insurance Plans found hospitals are charging double for some drugs they acquire and administer, while those dispersed via specialty pharmacies may serve as a more affordable and safer option for patients.
What are other benefits of a private practice?
Private physician practices are not as common as they once were, but a private practice is still your best bet for receiving the highest quality care at the lowest cost.
Independence leads to the best care. Under the private practice model, doctors have full autonomy to make the decisions that will lead to the best outcome for the patient. The trusted doctor-patient relationship is comprised of just two parties: the physician and the patient.
A third party is often introduced to this relationship when physicians work for large hospitals or health systems. These health systems, primarily led by executives, have a surprising amount of influence in the medical decisions a physician is allowed to make.
Additionally, independent practices are much more nimble than large health systems or hospitals, which means that we can adopt new technology and techniques more quickly.
Cost should not be the deciding factor when it comes to care. But it is a consideration. It is important to go with doctors you trust, in a practice that treats you like a person and has all the services you need in a welcoming environment. At ECHO, we are proud to provide this superior level of care while also remaining focused on making it affordable and convenient.
Click here to read 3 recent articles that share research on how community care can provide significant cost savings while maintaining the highest quality.