Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Economics of Heart Disease Offer Health Industry Insights

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Economics of Heart Disease Offer Health Industry Insights

Article excerpt

What are the costs of these treatments?

In line with my discussion on physician reimbursement, the cost of medical care depends on the level of technology required and whether it is procedurally oriented or more cognitively oriented. The treatment and care of patients with coronary artery disease tends toward the level of high-tech, procedural care. In other words, it is generally very expensive.

The scope of costs and treatments for heart disease is vast. However, I would like to give a few specific examples of costs, noting that they may vary depending on the hospital, physician and geographic area involved.

As with other disease treatments, diagnosis and care by a general physician are the least expensive. Some of the techniques used in the initial workup include the physical exam, X-ray and electrocardiogram.

The cost of an electrocardiogram is $57. The interpretation fee is $15. A physical exam may be from $30 to $100. Other methods of diagnosis are more technical and can be quite costly. An angiography costs between $800 and $1,080. And this is just the beginning of the health care bill for someone diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

After diagnosis, one level of treatment is medical therapy. As President Clinton has publicized quite well, pharmaceutical drugs are expensive. Depending on the costs involved to produce the drug, the cost to the consumer will vary greatly.

For severe medical ailments such as heart disease, the cost can be rather incredible. For example, the standard dose of tPA is 100 milligrams and costs $1,375 to a pharmacist. Medical therapy through administration of streptokinase is also based on a dose of 100 milligrams with a cost of $212 to the pharmacist.

Medical procedures which require hospitalization have both the professional and hospitalization fees. …

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