Recently I received a physical from a doctor who works under Centura Health, which runs Mercy Hospital and several local medical practices. The doctor asked me how I was doing with an issue that I had had several months ago. The discussion lasted 30 seconds. The doctor also suggested I get a vaccine. The bill for the visit: $1,273 after insurance discounts.
For details about the charges, the office referred me to Centura’s Oklahoma City billing department, which explained that the physical was $450, the 30-second conversation was $385 because that issue was not considered preventative care, and the vaccine cost $346 plus $92 to administer it.
Local pharmacies charge $130 for the same shot with free administration.
During the past year, the price of my visits to another Centura physician has more than doubled. My husband was billed $466 for a 10-minute conversation with a specialist about a simple test. Centura justified these charges by saying they had surveyed other corporate hospitals which charged more.
We asked local physicians and staff if they received raises. They did not and were unaware of the price increases.
We’ve been happy with the physicians, staff and care we’ve received through Centura. But this is price gouging.
Corporations running our health care have little incentive to change and will not unless forced, just like other monopolistic industries in the past.