ADVERTORIAL / ST. GEORGE — A big fear surrounding surgeries is the unknown and fluctuating costs associated with them. You have your doctor fees, your anesthesiologist fees, your hospital fees, so on and so forth. They tell you one price at the beginning and then slap you with a different amount after everything is said and done.
A new price transparency system just became available in Utah, and it’s available right here in St. George. St. George Surgical Center began offering this new online instant quote system close to six months ago. And the best part is that the price you see is the price you pay.
The quotes include all fees, upfront, with no hidden costs. The quote includes one preoperative and one postoperative visit, surgeon, center and anesthesiologist fees.
“I think people appreciate that kind of transparency,” surgical center Director of Anesthesia Jerry Hadlock said. “Right now, if you go and get surgery at a hospital, you’ll find out what you’re paying most likely after the fact.”
There are approximately 6,000 surgical centers across the U.S., and St. George Surgical Center is among a small number of about a half-dozen that is publishing its surgery prices. Their use of this innovative system is attracting patients from all over the country, as well as a few from Canada.
“It’s been really exciting,” Hadlock said. “People are gravitating towards this new concept of, ‘hey, I can go online and shop for surgery.’”
When people come to St. George to have procedures done at the surgical center, it’s almost like a surgery vacation, Hadlock said. The optimal climate and big tourist destinations like Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park are added perks that attract people from out of state. They can spend a whole week in Southern Utah before and after having their surgery.
St. George Surgical Center is designed with building space mirroring a spa-like atmosphere. Each room has a different theme, all aimed to calm patients.
“Our whole goal is making our customers feel comfortable,” Hadlock said. “And that starts with transparency on the cost for surgery. They’ll never find as intimate experience as they do here.”
Since the surgical center began using transparent pricing, there have been no cases in which the cost of surgery varied from the original price. The risk of most surgeries that are preformed at the center are relatively low-risk, and stay within the agreed upon price. However, in the event that there is a complication or additional testing is required, the center aims to be as upfront as possible with any additional costs.
“Typically the complications risk for the elective surgeries we do is really, really low,” Hadlock said.
St. George Surgical Center provides a wide range of elective surgeries, a few categories being ophthalmology, podiatry, urology, general, gynecology, plastics and reconstructive, among others.
- To view online pricing for surgeries, visit St. George Surgical Center’s website where you can get a free instant surgery quote in just a couple clicks.
The center currently provides pricing for over 70 procedures and expects to add 30 more in the coming months.
In 2013, the surgical center conducted a survey in which 494 patients gave feedback on their experience at the center. 492 patients responded that they would definitely or probably come again or refer someone to the center.
“We really take pride in that,” said Hadlock. “Over 99 percent of our patients had such a good experience here that they would come back for another procedure or recommend us to their friends.”
In contrast, satisfaction rates at hospitals are closer to 70 percent, said Hadlock. Additionally, infection rates in hospitals are significantly higher than in surgery centers. St. George Surgical Center had zero reported cases of infection in either 2013 or 2014.
When it comes to comparing pricing, the difference is steep. Hospitals have huge overhead fees, whereas physician-owned practices don’t. Hospitals can charge by the minute, so if a surgery takes two hours instead of one, you will be paying more.
The care delivered at the surgical center is anywhere from 45 percent to 75 percent lower than a hospital, said Hadlock. Patients pay one guaranteed cost, and don’t have to worry about hidden fees.
St. George Surgical Center has been in the community for over 26 years, and is continually seeking out ways to improve its operations for the benefit of its patients.
“We must be doing something right if we’ve found success in this small community, competing with a big hospital,” Hadlock said. “We’re trying to be innovative, and posting prices online for people is a new method that has been really successful.”
- To view online pricing for surgeries, visit St. George Surgical Center’s website
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