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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    63

    Trying to understand surgery costs...

    Dear All-

    I accidentally posted this message in the teen section (thank you, Linda, for catching that) so I am reposting it here hoping that some of you may have be able to advise me.

    I am trying to understand and plan for the financial aspects of my daughter's surgery. I assume that the surgeon's fees are separate from the hospital fees. Does anyone have an estimate of what the various expenses are?

    I suspect that the costs are contingent on the complexity of the surgery...and here's what I know about my daughter's surgery thus far. The plan that we recieved says that he plans to perform a "posterior spine fuson" of "L1-4" as well as a "Smith-Petersen-type posterior element osteotomy."

    I know that Dr. Boachie's office doesn't accept insurance. Does this mean that the patient has to pay the surgeon's fees out-of-pocket after the surgery? Or, are there instances when one can submit the bills to one's insurance company without having to front the cash. Basically, I am trying to figure out how much money do I need to have available for the surgery. Someone else on the board estimated that I should plan on about $5k worth of out-of-pocket expenses but this did not include the surgeon's fees. Does anyone have additional information, particularly if you/your child has had a similar surgery with Dr. Boachie's? I appreciate any information that you may have. Many thanks.

    Sam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    850
    sam----------I sent you a P.M.......Ly

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    63

    thanks, lynne

    Hi Lynne,

    I got your message. Thanks a bunch! And I sent you one back.


    Sam

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    798

    could I be in on the loop, please?

    I wish people wouldn't answer interesting questions privately!

    I just consulted my first surgeons in NYC, Though my situation is very different from yours (I'm the patient and I'm 64; also, I only have one son to turn to for any assistance and he's a college student taking time off)

    However, I'm very concerned about finances and would really love to know about estimated costs. If you write back, please let me know what was included - for example, nursing home/rehab care, PT, and follow-up.

    If anyone else can share estimates (clearly insurance is variable) I'd be so grateful. I also wonder about the factors in having surgery near ones home or far, in terms of returning if/when there are problems and for routine follow-up.

    How does one need to be transported and for how long.
    All these questions are intended to reflect average experiences. I know everyone's circumstances vary. (I'm SO sorry for the Nth time I ever moved to this out of the way area in Central PA!)

    Many thanks!

    Amanda

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,797
    Hi Sam...

    You should talk to Dr. Boachie's office. They'll tell you what it will cost. I don't think your insurance will prepay, but again, Dr. Boachie's office should be able to help. Assuming that the hospital accepts your insurance, you probably won't have to come up with much in advance. If you call the finance office at HSS, they can probably give you a good estimate.

    Good luck. Hope you can work it out.

    Regards,
    Linda

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
    774
    Hi Amanda,

    I had surgery almost two years ago at age 59. I underwent a 12-hour posterior surgery. I was hospitalized for 5Ĺ days and then spent the next two weeks in a rehab center where I was given a private room and received excellent care. I live alone so rehab was very helpful. From rehab I spent the next several weeks recovering by my brother and sister-in-law who have a ranch house. Since I was using a walker for the first few weeks, my house with stairs was not walker friendly.

    I live about 40 miles north of Chicago so I had access to some excellent surgeons associated with the major teaching hospitals in the city. I had considered a surgeon in St. Louis, Dr. Bridwell, but chose one closer to home. And Iím glad I did. Itís been much more convenient not having to deal with going out of town for follow-up visits, and at three months post-op I was driving myself to my appointments.

    Knowing beforehand that I would most likely incur expenses from this surgery, I put money aside and planned accordingly. I still work and went on short-term disability. I returned to work at four months. My total out-of-pocket expenses were roughly $5,000.

    Hope that helps.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    778
    Quote Originally Posted by Back-out View Post
    (I'm SO sorry for the Nth time I ever moved to this out of the way area in Central PA!)

    Many thanks!

    Amanda
    Central PA--what area? I feel very fortunate to live in Central PA. We have so many hospitals and doctors to choose from and most are located in a relatively short driving distance. We have Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Danville (maybe), John Hopkins, Philly hospitals plus all the great ones mentioned in NY.

    Mary Lou
    Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    798
    Snoopy, I think the difference is that your children are affected and you are driving on their behalf. Indeed when mine were young I took them - the first anyhow - to doctors in NYC when special problems arose. I myself went to NYC or to the centers you mentioned when a) I was younger (and my scoliosis wasn't as bad) or b) someone drove me.

    Now, though, I live alone and am unable to drive for more than an hour because of severe back pain. Even being a passenger is hard. And if I fly or take a bus (or train) - it's very difficult (and expensive!) to get around. I use a walker. Even changing trains is impossible without a companion and who can afford that?

    Even the nearest train station is almost an hour away - an unmanned station with only one train daily departing and one returning . That means for a single appointment, I have to pay for two nights in a hotel and countless tips to maneuver at all - plus many cabs and, of course, hours of uncomfortable traveling to get there and return (public transportation is much slower than car).

    I have a number of friends who perished because they relied on our sub-standard local hospital and our (mostly) sub-standard physicians. That was because they couldn't travel easily to a major medical center - even those with helpful extended families!

    You are in a more privileged position and it also sounds like you are a lot further East than me!
    Last edited by Back-out; 04-27-2010 at 04:44 AM.

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