There are benefits to surgery close to home
We at the Minnesota Orthopaedic Society (MOS) read with interest the recent article on total hip replacement, a very important topic (“A better deal for implants abroad,” Aug. 4). Total hip replacement is one of the most cost-effective health care interventions in all countries and health care systems. However, the presentation of data is different from the usual costs associated with this procedure in the United States and in Minnesota.
Most hip replacements done in the United States are covered by Medicare. The average Medicare payment to a surgeon is $1,400, which includes surgery, a hospital stay and follow-up care for 90 days after surgery. In Minnesota, the average payment to a hospital for this procedure (including implant costs, operating-room time and a hospital stay) was $23,378.02 in 2011.
Certainly there are pricing differences within the United States and abroad; however, excellent care is provided by highly trained orthopedic surgeons in our state, at a low cost to patients and insurers. There is also value in having one’s surgeon available to provide care after surgery, particularly if there are problems.
The people of Minnesota have access to excellent orthopedic surgeons who do indicated procedures at a modest price compared with the rest of the nation. The MOS wishes to clarify the value, costs and quality of care that we provide in light of the information in the recent article.
We look forward to collaborating with others to remove unnecessary cost from health care and improve the value to our state and our nation.
Dr. Amy L. McIntosh, Dr. Julie E. Adams and Dr. David W. Polly
The writers, orthopedic surgeons, have leadership roles in the Minnesota Orthopaedic Society.
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Is it proper to rope the staff into this?
Here are questions for Jana Vaughn, executive director of the MSP Airport Foundation, regarding the attempt to turn airport workers into shills for the gambling industry (“Airport e-gambling showing poor payoff,” Aug. 6):
1) Quoting the story, “staff at the airport bars and restaurants will be trained on how to encourage customers to give the games a try.” How will those trainers be paid? The $1,900 that the Airport Foundation has earned so far might cover — what? — one expert for one week?
2) Will there be a bonus or prizes (free trip to Vegas!) for staff members who persuade the most customers?
3) What about support staff who may not wish to participate, out of moral conviction, or personal distaste, or just plain not wanting to feel hypocritical? Will they be putting their jobs at risk?
LAUREN SOTH, Northfield, Minn.
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