Economic Considerations Influence Decision to Undergo Surgery

Economic Considerations Influence Decision to Undergo Surgery

A recent study has revealed that when it comes to making decisions about surgery, older adults take more than just pain and recovery time into account. The study, conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, found that cost, time off from work, and the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the hospital or surgery center were major concerns for many older adults.

Interestingly, the study also found that those who expressed significant concerns about these issues were less likely to go through with the surgery they had considered. In contrast, concerns about pain or the recovery process did not significantly impact the decision to proceed with the operation.

The implications of these findings are far-reaching. Surgeon Nicholas Berlin, who was involved in the study, noted that the results have influenced his own interactions with patients. He now spends more time discussing the financial and employment implications of surgery with his patients, as he has observed insured patients foregoing necessary surgeries due to the inability to afford out-of-pocket costs or take time off work for recovery.

While federal policies have attempted to address this issue by increasing price transparency and reducing surprise billing, there are still many financial concerns that remain unaddressed. For example, individuals who do not have access to paid time off from their employment face additional challenges when considering surgery. Insurance structure and potential wage loss from time off work are also factors that can heavily impact an older adult’s decision.

As the number of older adults in the workforce continues to rise, it is crucial for policymakers, surgical teams, and employers to take these economic considerations into account. By addressing the financial barriers and offering support to individuals navigating the decision-making process, we can ensure that older adults receive the necessary medical care without undue burden.

FAQ Section:

Q: What were the major concerns for older adults when making decisions about surgery?
A: The major concerns for older adults when making decisions about surgery were cost, time off from work, and the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the hospital or surgery center.

Q: Did concerns about pain or the recovery process significantly impact the decision to proceed with surgery?
A: No, concerns about pain or the recovery process did not significantly impact the decision to proceed with surgery.

Q: How did the study’s findings influence Surgeon Nicholas Berlin’s interactions with patients?
A: The study’s findings influenced Surgeon Nicholas Berlin’s interactions with patients as he now spends more time discussing the financial and employment implications of surgery with them.

Q: What are some of the financial concerns that remain unaddressed despite federal policies?
A: Despite federal policies, some of the financial concerns that remain unaddressed include individuals without access to paid time off from their employment and insurance structure and potential wage loss from time off work.

Key Terms/Jargon:

1. COVID-19: A novel coronavirus that was first identified in late 2019 and has since become a global pandemic. It primarily spreads through respiratory droplets and can cause severe illness, especially in older adults.

2. Price transparency: Refers to the availability of clear and easily understandable information about the prices of medical services and procedures. Increased price transparency aims to enable patients to make more informed decisions regarding their healthcare.

3. Surprise billing: Occurs when patients receive unexpectedly high medical bills from out-of-network healthcare providers, often as a result of receiving emergency treatment or unintentionally being treated by an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility.

4. Paid time off: Refers to a policy that allows employees to take time off from work while still receiving their regular pay. It is often used for reasons such as vacations, personal/family illnesses, or medical procedures.

Suggested Related Links:

National Institutes of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute for Health Care Management
American Medical Association

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