After reading my previous post on this topic, “Who is treating your veins?”, you now have a better understanding of the higher level of vascular expertise, experience, and formal training that is available from the vascular board certified physicians at Carolina Vein Care compared to physicians and non-physician providers at the corporate vein center who have no vascular board certification or formal vascular disease fellowship training.*
You might assume that the medical care provided by board certified vascular specialists at Carolina Vein Care must be more expensive than what is provided by the big corporate vein business, after all “you get what you pay for”, right?
Well, it might surprise you to know that the cost of medical care is essentially “fixed”, meaning that for Medicare as an example, the reimbursement for medical services – such as the office visit, ultrasound scans, and procedures – is the same in every locality. In the case of commercial insurance, while each insurance company has a set contracted rate with each individual medical practice, as long as the practice is “in-network” with your insurance company, you pay the same co-pays and deductibles. At Carolina Vein Care we are in-network with most all of the commercial insurance companies in the area.
Another and perhaps more important element of the cost of medical care is the procedure utilization rate. What does this mean? Simply stated, how many procedures does your “vein doctor” recommend that you undergo to treat your varicose veins? Using data from Medicare, an average number of varicose vein ablation procedures per patient per year is around 1.5 to 2. (This figure does not count injection procedures, so total number of procedures can be a little higher in some cases.) We have had patients come to us for a second opinion after being told they “needed” as many as 10 or more procedures! In our opinion these patients required far fewer procedures, and in some cases, none!
Putting it all together, at Carolina Vein Care your vein treatment will be provided by physicians with the highest level of board certification and formal vascular training* in the upstate, and the cost of this higher level of service to you is the same as that provided by physicians with no formal training in treating vascular conditions such as varicose veins. In many, if not most cases, the total cost of care is actually less since we have a low procedure utilization rate.
So, who is treating your veins?
Mark R. Jackson, M.D.
Board Certified Vascular Surgeon
* A vascular disease-specific specialty recognized by the National Board of Medical Specialties (such as Vascular Surgery or Interventional Radiology), and formal training in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases recognized by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.