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WARNING: Don’t Go Down the Hallway

If your doctor is employed by a hospital, he or she will be forced to send you down the hallway for your blood work or imaging study. Be forewarned that “down the hallway” is the most expensive location to receive such routine care.

As healthcare consumers, in the 1990s, we learned that generic drugs were just as effective as brand name drugs, and for a dime on the dollar. Similarly, right now the big trend in healthcare consumerism is to know that “down the hallway” is the most expensive place and it should be avoided.

Here’s how it works. The hospital-employed physician has to enter a prescription for blood work or an imaging study, such as a CT or MRI. The hospital electronic medical record (EMR) only has hospital options listed. This conveniently keeps all the care and money in the hospital but at your expense. Trust your doctor with your life - not your purse or wallet.

Note that with a prescription in your hand (ask for one if it is not handed to you), you can take that prescription anywhere you wish, including many other in-network medical providers for the same exact care at a lower price. In-network pricing for the same care varies a lot. In-network pricing does not protect you. Sometimes, you can save a lot of money by going out-of-network also.

In summary, don't let the hospital administrator, via your doctor, force you to receive medical care at his or her hospital.  It’s your health and your hard-earned money and you have the right to take that prescription for a medical test anywhere you wish with many of other great in-network care options.