Daily check up: Bargaining over health costs

A look at the morning’s top health industry news.

Haggling for a better price on care: Consumer Reports has long been telling people to bargain with the person selling them a car or appliance, writes Nancy Shute on the NPR Shots blog. Now Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, is telling people to haggle over their health care. Patients should talk to doctors about cost before treatment and be willing to negotiate after they get a big bill, he said.

A new leader at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Here’s the full story on the appointment of Dr. Kevin Tabb to head Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, from Globe reporter Liz Kowalczyk. Tabb is chief medical officer of Stanford Hospital & Clinics in California and will start at his Boston post Oct. 17.


Dr. Tabb on global payments: Carey Goldberg of the WBUR CommonHealth blog posted this excerpt from the station’s interview with Dr. Tabb. Asked about the state’s push to change the way hospitals and physicians are paid, he said he supports the use of global payments, as long as the new system takes into account the needs of institutions like Beth Israel Deaconess. “Like all academic medical centers, we take care of very sick, very complex patients — and very sick, very complex patients don’t always lend themselves to simplistic plan,’’ he said.

Mental health care for medical students: Researchers from Cambridge Health Alliance examined the health plans provided to medical students at 115 US schools and found that fewer than 22 percent provided mental health and substance abuse coverage with no out-of-pocket costs to the students. Elizabeth Murphy of Inside Higher Ed reports that the authors of the study hope it will be a wake-up call to schools to do more for stressed medical students. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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