The Pratter principle: all medical costs should be made known before the time of purchase.
If one goes to the grocery store, every single item in the grocery store has a known price before you buy it. If you go to the mall, every piece of clothing and food has a known cost before you buy it. Similarly, by principle, Pratter believes that every bit of health care provided, ranging from a cholesterol level to a knee replacement has a known cost that should be made conveniently available to every health care consumer before you buy it.
We do have a right to know health care costs. This is referred to as medical cost transparency. Health care providers, in general, have claimed that it is too complex to provide medical costs because they vary so much, especially for inpatient medical care (staying in the hospital) after a heart attack or emphysema exacerbation. Such responses ignore the obvious – most medical care received in a person’s lifetime is outside the hospital (i.e. outpatient or routine)!
These routine outpatient costs are easy to report. There is a five digit medical code for each procedure whether it is a shoulder joint injection, a lumbar spine MRI or a brief follow up doctor visit. Each code is assigned a dollar figure. There is no “it depends” in this setting.
Pratter has set its mission to make these straightforward costs known to you – the public. Gone will be the day you are referred to as a patient. You will now be referred to as a health care consumer. As a health care consumer, you have rights.