Saturday, September 5, 2015

The COST of Anesthesia Nurses (from a reader)

I got another email from the reader I recently wrote about, AJ.  Here it is.

"Hi Jackie

Just a follow-up to our recent exchange of e-mails.  Even though I had a colonoscopy without any sedation or pain relief last month, my insurance company paid the anesthesiologist in excess of $800.  Apparently, he/she gets paid for his/her time regardless of what is required during the procedure.  I understand that the anesthesiologist may be required at some point during the procedure and that they should be paid something for their time, but I feel this amount is ridiculous. I wish someone would pay me $800 to take a 30 minute break.

Maybe sometime, someone from the medical field can explain to me how doing a colonoscopy without sedation keeps the costs down."

I find it alarming and aggravating that this reader was charged the same $800 that *I* was.  For NOTHING!  Here we are in this day and age, worrying about the enormous cost of medical care and we find that "anesthesia" is charging $800 an hour (or less time) for the mere presence of a crna in the suite.  A crna whose purpose is to administer...what exactly?  Versed?  

I have read the self righteous whining of many crna's about other inferior people, like regular nurses, administering the poison that is Versed.  Really, if Versed is that dangerous, may I opine that maybe it shouldn't be used at all for routine procedures?  Why, even when the services of the "sedation nurse" are declined, do we have to pay them anyway?  This is an outrageous example of the way medical care pads the bill so as to maximize profit.  It isn't about the patient, it's about the medical behemoth making obscene amounts of money.

I have advised this patient to dispute the bill.  The little nursey poo who made $800 dollars to stand there for half an hour doing nothing should not be paid for "services rendered".  I have successfully gotten spurious charges like this removed from my bill...  If the patient declines the services of the specialty nurse, whose job in this case was to administer "sedation" (which anybody can do) then there should be no CHARGES for this nurse.  

I agree with AJ, an 800 dollar charge for a crna to show up is ludicrous.  Next time AJ, show the nurse the door.  Accidents only happen during a colonoscopy if the patient IS sedated.  I have read copious amounts of data and haven't found a single instance of a perforation occurring in an unsedated patient.  I'm not saying that it can't/won't happen, just that the data doesn't support the idea that an unsedated colonoscopy requires the presence of a specialized anesthesia nurse.  You know me, I don't want one in the same room with me regardless of the procedure.  I had a heart cath done without an anesthesia nurse...

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