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May 2015

Separating the Need for Intraoperative Consultation From the Fear of Out-of-Network Billing: The Myth of Drive-by Doctoring

Author Affiliations
  • 1Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center, Department of Surgery and Center for Healthcare Studies, Institute for Public Health and Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center, Department of Surgery, Center for Healthcare Studies, Institute for Public Health and Medicine, and Northwestern Institute for Comparative Effectiveness Research, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Surg. 2015;150(5):386-387. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2014.3521

“Drive-by doctoring,” in which questionably necessary consultants generate hefty bills to patients or insurers, has recently been highlighted by the media as a growing problem in the United States. This term was recently used to brand an incident involving a $117 000 bill for an out-of-network intraoperative neurosurgery consultation during a routine neck surgery.1 The widespread response from the public and media has underscored the fact that this episode may not be uncommon.

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