Dealing with Unexpected Anesthesia Fees

When patients schedule routine doctor’s appointments for check-ups or consults, they usually get charged pre-determined fees. If you go to your primary care physician, for example, chances are you have a flat co-pay amount. The same probably goes for visits to the dentist or dermatologist, where the medical debt collection process is generally cut and dry, with specialists charging set fees for treatments such as root canals, fillings, or chemical peels.

For hospital or surgery center procedures requiring anesthesia, however, billing rates can vary greatly, as final payment amounts have to cover additional staff services and facility fees.

According to a recent New York Times article, one Sag Harbor, N.Y. couple learned this lesson the hard way after undergoing colonoscopies. While each patient was careful to select a gastroenterologist covered under their insurance plan, in both cases the doctor opted for full anesthesia, which happened to be administered by an out-of-network anesthesiologist. The couple, of course, was billed for the anesthesiologist’s services and is now having to deal with a debt collection agency due to thousands of dollars in unforeseen charges.

The frustrating part for patients in similar situations is that doctors often adopt more costly practices that aren’t always necessary. For colonoscopies, for example, several notable gastroenterology societies recommend conscious sedation in cases where there are no complications. Yet, more and more patients receive full anesthesia and wind up with large, unexpected bills and calls from medical debt collection companies.

For patients considering a colonoscopy – or other procedures performed by specialists who aren’t normally covered under insurance plans – it is best to find out ahead of time whether certain services will have to be paid out-of-pocket. This way, you can make necessary preparations or look for other physicians covered under your plan.

Gastroenterologists and Psychologists Treat IBS

Currently there is no cure for the chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and irregular bowel movements, known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but it has been related to stress. A study presented on Monday by Mayo Clinic researchers linking psychological trauma to IBS may have the answer.

There are other digestive conditions that appear similar to IBS, but should not be confused as their causes are very distinct, more severe, and require medical attention. Dr. Yolandra Johnson, gastroenterology Chicago, specializes in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcertative colitis, and helps patients understand and identify their specific digestive problem.

In contrast, the structure of the bowel is not abnormal in IBS and often can be managed through diet and lifestyle changes. Since the intestine and the brain are connected through nerve signals sent back and forth, stress can cause the nerves to be more active. As a result the intestines become more sensitive and contract more.  This is often what causes IBS.

If you are suffering from chronic abdominal comfort, it is best you see one of the many recommended gastroenterologists for an expert’s diagnosis. Gastroenterologists Chicago Consultants of the North Shore, for example, is a highly trained group of physicians in the management of digestive system problems.

In the case that your condition is IBS, the Mayo Clinic study suggests dealing with any psychological trauma you may have from your past. The study surveyed 2,623 adults about past emotional or psychological events, such as divorce, the death of a loved one, a car accident, physical or mental abuse, or surviving a natural disaster, finding that those with more trauma in their lives were more likely to have IBS.

To learn more about IBS related conditions check out Managing IBS and Diabetes: Can Gastroenterologists Help?  Here you can also read more about North Shore digestive and liver disease Chicago specialist.