Tags: Healthcare Reform | medical | procedures | srt

Emerging Medical Procedures Could Reduce Healthcare Costs

Emerging Medical Procedures Could Reduce Healthcare Costs

Demonstrating the Remote Patient Monitoring system that gives medical providers the ability to monitor their patients at home, during an AT&T Network Innovation Showcase in Palo Alto, Calif. (Tony Avelar/AP)

By Tuesday, 25 April 2017 04:41 PM Current | Bio | Archive

When discussing healthcare, people seem to exclusively focus on the large and complex concepts such as state responsibility or the individual mandate. Yet, what gets overlooked — but have significant impact — are emerging medical procedures.

I recently was able to speak with Joseph Sardano about Sensus Healthcare’s Superficial Radiotherapy (SRT) procedure which opened up my eyes to how emerging procedures could play an important role in making healthcare affordable in America.

Superficial Radiotherapy (SRT) is a non-surgical solution for basal cell carcinoma treatment and squamous cell carcinoma treatment, cleared by the FDA in 2007.

The market for these treatments has mostly relied on the Mohs surgery technique since the early 1970’s. This surgical technique was developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs at the University of Wisconsin at a time when 1 out of 1500 patients had skin cancer. The number has changed where today 1 out of 7 are diagnosed with skin cancer.

Joseph Sardano told me, "skin cancer, as declared by the Surgeon General a couple of years ago is currently growing at a rate of 6 percent per year. It will reach 6 million people by the year 2020. MD Anderson Cancer Center states 1 out of 2 persons over the age of 65 will have skin cancer in their lifetime. Skin cancer is three times greater than all the other cancers combined. It is currently costs our healthcare system $8.1, plus billion dollars. 

"Numerous studies over the years show that SRT is as efficacious as Mohs Surgery with a better than 95 percent cure rate with a less than 2 percent recurrence rate. Also, SRT has proven to be a better choice for patients with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or those on heart medicines like blood thinners, etc. Another interesting fact is that 100 percent of transplant patients will develop skin cancer within 5 years of their transplant."

So why hasn’t SRT, a cheaper and safer procedure, been adopted as the standard for treating patients with skin cancer? According to Joseph Sardano, the answer is nefariously simple. Physicians can’t implement the procedure profitably because reimbursement for the treatment is far smaller than the reimbursement for the surgery. This isn’t to say that physicians are purposefully choosing more risky procedures to make a profit, but rather the floor for the SRT reimbursement is simply too low to operate a SRT practice.

The reimbursement for SRT is maxed at $300 ($25 per-treatment, times12), whereas the reimbursement for the surgery can be up to $25,000.

Additionally, the same procedure done in a hospital is reimbursed at $125 per treatment and that is done by a radiation technologist rather than a physician. Simply put, physicians trying to implement SRT are being paid less than hospitals for the same procedure, and physicians don’t switch from surgeries because there is no comparison in terms of reimbursement.

Joseph says that when taken from the prospective of the patient, they are the true losers. He says patients are denied access to cheaper, safer treatment in favor of more expensive more risky treatment because the medical reimbursement codes for SRT are set too low.

If we are to truly find ways to reduce our healthcare expenditures, we need to support innovation so it manifests in the market, not just in clinically. America totes innovation and development as our strategic advantage in medical care. The only way we can continue that advantage is if we support innovation.

Richard S. Bernstein, CEO of Richard S. Bernstein & Associates, Inc., West Palm Beach, is an insurance advisor for high net worth business leaders, families, businesses, municipalities, and charitable organizations. An insurance advisor to many of America’s wealthiest families, he is a writer, trusted local and national media resource and expert speaker on estate planning and health insurance. Visit his website at www.rbernstein.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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If we are to truly find ways to reduce our healthcare expenditures, we need to support innovation so it manifests in the market, not just clinically. America promotes innovation as our strategic advantage in medical care. The only way we can continue that advantage is if we support innovation.
medical, procedures, srt
Tuesday, 25 April 2017 04:41 PM
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