By Michael Waddoups
Utah State Senator, District 6
One of my strong impressions after visiting the Riverwoods Surgery Center
was that patients should be aware of the wealth of healthcare options available - and have more freedom to choose the best fit for the procedures that impact their lives.
The Riverwoods Surgery Center is an alternative to the typical hospital surgery room. It seemed cleaner, more personal, and much less expensive.
In fact, Riverwoods Surgery Center was more like a hotel than a hospital. People were treated like . . . people. The atmosphere was respectful and personable. This probably doesn’t happen every time, but I saw one doctor walking a patient out to his car after a treatment. That kind of care is refreshing.
ASCs (Ambulatory Surgery Centers) are also less expensive. One surgery that costs $3100 at a local hospital, costs $2100 at an ASC. In addition, ASCs boast a strikingly low infection rate, when compared with traditional health care providers.
I was impressed.
I believe doctors and their patients can and should have enhanced alternatives, more transparency, and more information. Insurance companies and the health care industry should encourage, not impede, this process.
We would serve our constituents well to promote a healthcare system where more choices are made by the patients who's lives and health are at stake - rather than the insurance company, hospitals, and employers.
I believe government can help in two specific ways:
1 - Encourage insurance companies to be more cooperative. They should be less restrictive with those who do the work and pay their premiums. People should have a full spectrum of options available to them in their time of need.
2 - The State should require health care providers to identify their infection rates and make that information available to the public. Perhaps the Health Department could post and publicize those rates on their website.
Watch for upcoming legislation on choice and transparency.