In China, there is an extra charge to choose your surgeon:

It is common and accepted that the patient who is about to go under the knife is also the individual who chooses which surgeon will be holding the scalpel.

A patient has to conduct a thorough investigation to find out which surgeon is the best in a hospital before he or she makes such a decision.

But for rural patients, who travel from their villages to hospitals in the big cities, it is almost impossible to make an informed decision in the limited time.

Never fear, there are photographs in the lobby displaying all doctors in every hospital in Beijing. Patients can just take their pick from among all the surgeons.

But a patient has to pay an extra fee for picking and choosing. And the money lines the pockets of the selected surgeons and beefs hospital general funds.

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  • Anonymous

    I’am wondering how this is any different than when we prefer to have a surgeon that is not in our ins. network?

    I had surgery a few years back and since I had not had any prior general surgery, I picked one that was in our provider directory and made an appt. When I went in for an office visit I asked the receptionist to make sure this Dr. was still in our plan, (you know how they change who is and is not part of your plan all the time)I was told that “Yes, he is.”

    Well turns out he wasn’t! My ins. had dropped him just a few days before my visit. Instead of this surgery being covered at 100% it was only covered at 60% because he was now considered out of network..Hard to keep up with who is and who isn’t in network all the time.

  • ChinaLawBlog

    This is great stuff you are coming up with on China’s medical situation.

  • Anonymous

    “My ins. had dropped him just a few days before my visit. Instead of this surgery being covered at 100% it was only covered at 60%”

    Usually the doctor just writes off the additional 40%; I notice that the patient above didn’t mention this part…i am sick of ingrate patients.

  • Anonymous

    “Usually the surgeon just writes off the 40%.”

    Where do they do this at? Not where I live. I paid this 40% and your an ass!

  • Anonymous

    I had a similar experience to anon. 3:15. Had a 7 week wait to see a surgeon, his office tells me he’s in-network. At office on appointment day, his receptionist accepts my insurance card. Surgeon tells me to come back in a month for follow-up. Only then does 2nd receptionist tell me that he’ll be out-of-network in 1 month. 3rd receptionist says, “Oh yeah, we ought to start telling patients about the insurance change.” Physician’s assistant takes pity on me, and gets me appointment at 26 days. Another instance of clueless receptionists. I decided to go see another surgeon after this.

    My current insurer does send out notices to patients if a doctor is dropping out a plan, if that patient has ever gotten a referral for that doctor. For some reason, I’m getting these about-to-be-out-of-network notices for doctors I’ve never seen.

  • Gasman

    Like almost everything else in life, access and choice do have a cost.

    The in-network or preferrred provider designation is merely our formal arangement of what elsewhere is still managed in the same way one gets a good table by slipping the head waiter a 20.