Some Anchorage pediatricians protest hospital fee

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Some Anchorage pediatricians are protesting hospital charges for infant circumcisions that they believe are too high.

Doctors with Anchorage Pediatric Group have stopped doing the procedure at Alaska Regional Hospital, APRN reported. About a year ago, Dr. Charles Ryan with Anchorage Pediatric Group found out the hospital was charging more than $2,000 for the procedure, compared with $235 at Providence Hospital a few miles away. Ryan called Regional’s price — which includes a tray of sterilized, reusable, instruments, a nurse to assist and a board for the infant to lay on — “wildly abnormal.”

“Health care dollars are limited and we like to see them spent in ways that really provide good health care for people and necessary health care for people,” he said. “And when the health care dollar is being milked off by charges that just seem out of proportion to what the cost of delivering those services is, then those are dollars that can’t be used for more essential things.”

Anchorage Pediatric Group bills $700 dollars for circumcisions, wherever they’re performed. Hospitals commonly charge facility fees on top of what doctors charge.

A Regional spokeswoman said the cost is so high in part because the hospital must be ready to treat medical emergencies. She said insurance companies and uninsured families can negotiate better rates.

Dr. John Tappel, who works at LaTouche Pediatrics, thought Regional’s price was a mistake when he first heard it. He generally avoids circumcisions there, unless families request otherwise.

Tappel and Ryan said they think Regional is a good hospital. But Ryan said the situation shows doctors should become better informed on hospital prices.

Tappel said doctors must do their part, too.

“When I order that X-ray or prescribe that antibiotic, I need to do a better job of understanding how that may impact some of my families,” he said.

More in Local News

It’s hard to find a parking spot at Wallace Falls State Park

There’s a study under way on how to tackle that issue and others.

At long last, a church of his own

After years of filling in elsewhere, Hallack Greider is the new pastor at Maplewood Presbyterian.

Judge: Lawmakers’ emails, texts subject to public disclosure

News organizations had sued to challenge the Legislature’s claim that members were exempt.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Outgoing councilwoman honored by Marysville Fire District

The Marysville Fire District in December honored outgoing City Councilwoman Donna Wright… Continue reading

Officials rule train-pedestrian death an accident

The 37-year-old man was trying to move off the tracks when the train hit him, police say.

Ex-Monroe cop re-arrested after losing sex crime case appeal

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison but was free while trying to get his conviction overturned.

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Number of flu-related deaths in county continues to grow

Statewide, 86 people have died from the flu, most of whom were 65 or older.

Most Read