Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On Your Chances of Having a C-Section and Money


We all like money.

Doctors like money.

Hospital administrators? Big fans.

Guess what? C-sections make both doctors and hospitals waaaaay more money then your average vaginal birth.

Anecdotaly, my 2.5 day failed induction/c-section birth and subsequent hospital stay had a price tag of about $30,000 before PPO discount. The OB's fee was around 4,000. My VBAC's price tag? The hospital bill was about 4,000ish (before discount) and the midwife's fee was about 2,900ish.

$34,000 vs $6,900. Granted not all of that is profit, but still.

Data wise, according to our government, for 2008, an uncomplicated vaginal birth was about $7,000, a complicated vaginal birth was almost $9,000, an uncomplicated C-section was over $12,000, and a complicated C-section was about $16,000.

I am really not a big conspiracy theorist, but I think it would be silly to overlook money as one of the big reasons U.S. c-section rates rose AGAIN this year to 32.9% of all births. 1 in 3.

And so many of these major abdominal surgeries are unnecessary. Not evidence based, but convenience based. And not even convenience based for the mothers. At least that I could *maybe* just sit back and watch. Instead, this trend is driven by convenience for the doctors. Why wait for a baby to come on it's own when you can schedule an induction (which has a higher likelihood for a c-section)? Why let a women have a VBAC, which might occur on a Saturday at 4:00am, when you can schedule a birth for 9:00 in the morning on a Tuesday?

Mr. OB can make more money, get a good night's sleep, and have his weekends free to play golf. With all these wonderful benefits, it probably wont be too long til we are looking at a 50% section rate.

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