OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

July 18, 2013

Why Health Care Costs So Much – Interview with Dr. G. Keith Smith


OK-SAFE, Inc. – On July 15, 2013 we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. G. Keith Smith (Anesthesiologist) of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma on America in the Balance on Truth in Focus Internet radio.

Dr G Keith Smith photo

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma was established in 1997 by two doctors (Dr. Steven Lantier and Dr. G. Keith Smith) fed up with how hospitals were treating both the patients and the surgeons.

Right away they decided they would do two things very differently:

  1. They would never take a dime of government money.  “We just decided that the federal government is not a reliable, or an honest or a trustworthy partner or payer in any capacity.  And we did not want to take the leverage that went along with taking their money.  We also increasing saw, philosophically, accepting federal money as an act of theft.” Taking money from one neighbor to give it to someone else was unacceptable to them.
  2. They would engage in what they called “price honesty.” They decided their own prices and communicated this beforehand to the patient.  “This is what we charge and mean it.”

Soon, the Surgery Center of Oklahoma (SCO) became a haven for not only the uninsured, but people who lived outside of Oklahoma.  Patients from as far away as Canada come to the SCO, as well as from Massachusetts and Alaska.

Apparently this success dismayed the insurance establishment, who made multiple attempts to throw down roadblocks in their path – i.e., by steering patients away from them.

Dr. Smith provides a history of the health care system (see the Hill-Burton Act of 1946, for one), and goes into the specifics of why health care costs so much; the role “not-for-profit” hospitals play in distorting the costs of health care, and the manipulative pricing tactics employed by the insurance companies.

Those Privacy-Killing Electronic Health Records

At the bottom of the interview be sure to listen to the “The Four Buckets of Meaningful Use” audio, as a woman explains Stages 1 through 4 of the “Meaningfully Use” requirements for electronic health records.  Stages 1-4 can be summed up as, 1) adopt electronic health records technology, 2) capture data, 3) move the data, 4) report the data. All that “data” is about you, the patient, so it can be sent hither and yon, including to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).  In a nutshell, you are getting naked for more than just the doctor.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma does not use electronic health records, recognizing their inherent risks, and belongs to no “network” of information sharing about their patients.

Options?

What can we in  Oklahoma do to avoid the pitfalls of “ObamaCare”?  One recommendation Dr. Smith makes is to avoid seeing a doctor attached to a hospital.  Independent providers are still out there – these are the ones to frequent.  Toward the end of the interview Dr. Smith provides a list of other options for health care, including options if you need a hospital.

About the Surgery Center of Oklahoma

“The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is a 32,535 square foot, state-of-the-art multispecialty facility in Oklahoma City, owned and operated by approximately 40 of the top surgeons and anesthesiologists in central Oklahoma.Soon, the Surgery Center became a haven for uninsured and more – people from as far away as Canada started showing up at their facility.”

“It is no secret to anyone that the pricing of surgical services is at the top of the list of problems in our dysfunctional healthcare system. Bureaucracy at the insurance and hospital levels, cost shifting and the absence of free market principles are among the culprits for what has caused surgical care in the United States to be cost prohibitive. As more and more patients find themselves paying more and more out of pocket, it is clear that something must change. We believe that a very different approach is necessary, one involving transparent and direct pricing.”

Government interference in health care is the problem.  Entities like The Surgery Center of Oklahoma are the solution.

Link to the Surgery Center of Oklahoma:  www.surgerycenterok.com

Address: 9500 N. Broadway Extension, Oklahoma City, OK 73114

Phone: 405-475-0678

Dr. Smith’s email: Ksmith@surgerycenterok.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Smith’s blog.

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2 Comments »

  1. What Dr. Smith has started in Oklahoma City is something we’d like to expand upon nationwide. We’re publishing the prices of Dr. Smith’s surgery center, and several other facilities, on our site for free. Read our press release at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11677459.htm or choose a price list to view at https://pricingHealthcare.com/findAProvider.

    Comment by Randy Cox — March 19, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

  2. Awesome, I just found this blog. Check out my new blog, I focus on a younger audience but I’d love to hear your feedback.

    Comment by countercultureok — July 22, 2013 @ 7:37 pm


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