“Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan advertised its “Covid-19 Testing” on a large blue and white banner outside its Greenwich Village division’s emergency room. The banner said nothing about cost.
But cost turned out to be the testing’s most noteworthy feature. Lenox Hill, one of the city’s oldest and best-known hospitals, repeatedly billed patients more than $3,000 for the routine nasal swab test, about 30 times the test’s typical cost.
“It was shocking to see a number like that, when I’ve gotten tested before for about $135,” said Ana Roa, who was billed $3,358 for a test at Lenox Hill last month.
Ms. Roa’s coronavirus test bill is among 16 that The New York Times reviewed from the site. They show that Lenox Hill arrives at its unusually high prices by charging a large fee for the test itself — about six times the typical charge — and by billing the encounter as a “moderately complex” emergency room visit.” . . .
David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Horrible, terrible and upsetting. Thank you Sarah Kliff for disturbing my “wa,” or inner peace. You wrote, “Doctors and hospitals that bill higher prices for testing can rely on new federal protections to ensure they are paid. Congress passed a law last year that requires insurers to fully cover coronavirus testing costs and not apply any patient co-payments or other fees to the service.” Please write soon about what can we do about this Augean stable of greed. Would it be, in the short term, as simple as rewriting the law mentioned above, with strict parameters that empowers the insurance companies to respond with reasonable reimbursement rates? Is life ever as easy as I think it should be?
David Lindsay Jr is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net. He is currently writing a book about climate change and the sixth extinction, but he probably should be writing a book called, What the heck is wrong with Connecticut.
In the coming days, a patent will finally be issued on a five-year-old invention, a feat of molecular engineering that is at the heart of at least five major Covid-19 vaccines. And the United States government will control that patent.
The new patent presents an opportunity — and some argue the last best chance — to exact leverage over the drug companies producing the vaccines and pressure them to expand access to less affluent countries.
The question is whether the government will do anything at all.
The rapid development of Covid-19 vaccines, achieved at record speed and financed by massive public funding in the United States, the European Union and Britain, represents a great triumph of the pandemic. Governments partnered with drugmakers, pouring in billions of dollars to procure raw materials, finance clinical trials and retrofit factories. Billions more were committed to buy the finished product.
But this Western success has created stark inequity. Residents of wealthy and middle-income countries have received about 90 percent of the nearly 400 million vaccines delivered so far. Under current projections, many of the rest will have to wait years.”
This is a good article, and the subject is more complicated than some might think. There is a lot to sort out. My quick take, the Gates Foundation language should have been included in the contracts, to protect the public from getting gauged.
“My 4-year-old son has a particularly active imagination. On any given day, he’ll regale us with fantastical tales about dragons and superheroes and rocket ships. But no matter how implausible his stories are, they always maintain some connection to reality.
So when my wife, who is a pediatric anesthesiologist, came home one day and my son announced that there was a rock in his nose, she believed him even though she couldn’t see it. And when he said that a space alien had put it in his left nostril, she still believed him even though he is clearly not friends with any martians. And when our nanny said that she thought the rock was just a “hard booger,” my wife still believed my son even though we have pulled some rock-hard boogers out of those nostrils.
Had I, an average parent (at best) with no formal medical training, been the one to arrive home first during this medical crisis, we would have headed straight to the emergency room, where a doctor probably would have sedated my son and used forceps to pull out the offending rock in an uncomfortable, time-consuming and expensive procedure.
But my wife, and her 13 years of medical training, walked through that door and knew exactly what to do. She remembered a technique from medical school for removing a foreign object from a child’s nose called “the mother’s kiss.”
In essence, you plug the unaffected nostril and blow into the child’s mouth, hoping to force the foreign object to pop out — as illustrated in this video.
“By blowing in the mouth, which is connected to the nasal passage through the back of the throat, the air should force the bead or stone to come out the nostril,” said Dr. Lawrence Rosen, M.D., a pediatrician and founder of the Whole Child Center, an integrative private pediatric practice in Oradell, N.J. “It’s a lot gentler and more pleasant than going to the E.R. and having an instrument stuck up their nose.”
Of course, said Dr. Michael Patrick, M.D., a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at Ohio State University, any at-home medical procedure — including this one — can come with certain risks. “All the child has to do is potentially take a deep breath in and the rock could be sucked down into the lungs,” he said. “This could happen if they’re crying.” “