In the January 15 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Steve Lipstein, the president and CEO of St. Louis based BJC HealthCare, presented a commentary on “Why medical charges appear to be so high and still growing.” He compares two health care providers who offer the exact same imaging services — ABC Imaging Center, located in a community where most of the patients have private health insurance, and XYZ Hospital, located in a different, more diverse community. He goes on to say that for patients with private health insurance, XYZ Hospital must receive three times more per exam than ABC Imaging Center to cover the reduced reimbursement it receives from its more diverse Medicare, Medicaid and uninsured population.
My name is Harley Hammerman. I’m a radiologist and the CEO of Metro Imaging, a network of five full-service outpatient imaging centers in the greater St. Louis market. I had heard Mr. Lipstein present his alphabet-soup parable at a conference, and challenged him on it at that time. But that was in front of a relatively small audience. When I saw his tale repeated in print, I responded with my own commentary, which the Post-Dispatch graciously printed on February 5. I think you’ll enjoy reading it.