Hazards of Discount Medical Care

The cost of fertility treatment is a common topic in the news, as well as on fertility discussion boards.  Last year, according to the CDC data, there were approximately 150,000 IVF cycles performed in the USA.  The average cost of a complete IVF cycle, excluding medications, was $10,500.  The cost of fertility treatment at Red Rock Fertility is only slightly higher than that, though we do include more options in our IVF package.

As the economy has taken a turn for the worse, there have been a number of places worldwide that are offering discount fertility services.  While some of these places may be able to offer quality care at a discount, it is a difficult thing to do.  There have now been two instances of poor quality medical care being offered at discount prices here in Las Vegas.  One was the GI center fiasco with Dr. Desai and now, Valley Eye Center has been shown to have ruined the vision of almost 30 patients.  The people running their LASIK center were not even eye doctors.

My husband paid around $3500 to have his eyes fixed about 6 years ago.  Valley Eye Center advertised specials for $250 per eye.  When I used to see their commercials on TV, I always wondered how they were able to discount prices so much, as most centers have to buy a new laser every 3 years, since the technology is always improving.  Well, now it is clear, they didn’t have the best technology and they did not have qualified personnel running the clinic.  Here is a link to the article describing the situation.  The eye doctors that they flew in from Colorade evidently had a pretty significant malpractice history.

The situation at the GI clinic was somewhat different, as they did have trained GI doctors performing the procedures, but they cut corners at every possible step.  I have heard rumors that Dr. Desai would only allow his staff to purchase KY Jelly for the colonoscopes if they had a coupon.  They re-used their sterilization fluid and even performed the heinous act of re-using syringes, which led to the Hepatitis C outbreak.  Dr. Desai’s clinic was extremely busy and the only GI center on many insurance plans.  Why was this?  Because he was the cheapest.  Insurance companies love cheap doctors, as they are able to keep more of the premiums.  Heaven forbid an insurance company be concerned about quality.  Here is a link to an article detailing the endoscopy center situation.

A recent patient of mine went to the Czech republic for IVF treatment.  She did feel that the clinic was reasonably well run and clean, but the patients seemed to all get plugged into the same protocol.   She stated that she felt like she was “On a conveyor belt.”  They did not spend the time to adequately diagnose her problem and she did not get pregnant.

Providing high quality medical care is expensive.  The field of fertility is no different.  The training, equipment, and supplies are all very expensive and not getting any cheaper.  If you see advertisements for discount medical care, be sure to ask many questions, as the history of discount medical care is not particularly good.

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