Episode 145: Surgery without Insurance with Dr. Keith Smith

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A lot has happened since we last met with Dr. Keith Smith from the Surgery Center of Oklahoma back in 2018. Back then, we talked about how he brought the radical notion of full price transparency to the surgery space in 2009 all without taking any government payers. We also spoke about how the system was rigged to enrich the hospital systems, insurance carriers, and PBMs (what’s new right?). So what’s happened since then and how has the center done with the pandemic?

Is the Surgery Center of Oklahoma Thriving or Just Surviving?

Not surprisingly, Dr. Smith says that the center is doing just fine and has increased its market share from other states. Additionally, the international community from Canada is now being allowed to come back into the US for their surgeries which are more backed up than ever. His surgery center is a great alternative for an increasingly backlogged health system that is strained under the COVID crush of patients.

Can Other Surgery Centers Dabble in Direct Contracting?

One interesting aspect to Dr. Smith and his crusade for more transparency and market forces within medicine is the development of using clearinghouses for arranging surgery. The clearinghouse is used as a quick means for posting prices anonymously and then linking the agreeable surgery center and potential payers who are either patients or employers.. This is a great way to ease into direct contracting for a lot of surgery centers that are still dealing with commercial and government contracts.

What is the Future for the Free Market Medical Association?

Dr. Smith says the FMMA has grown significantly over the past few years as more and more facilitators, physicians, surgical centers, and administrators gather to learn how to harness the market to increase their book of business. Now that the pandemic has caused a lot of disruption in the market people are really starting to look for fresh solutions to survive and the FMMA feels like it has just what they need. Anyone can sign up and their next conference in in April 2022.

Dr. Keith Smith is the co-founder of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma which has 100% price transparency which opened its doors in 1997. He also founded the Free Market Medical Association which works to promote the free market in all health care transactions.

show notes

Episode 145: Today’s show

Surgery Center of Oklahoma: Dr. Smith’s 100% price transparent surgery center in Oklahoma City, OK.

Free Market Medical Alliance: The organization that Dr. Smith helped co-found to encourage using the free market in more US health care transactions.

@SurgeryCenterOK: Twitter for the Surgery Center of Oklahoma

LinkedIn for Keith Smith, MD

Atlas Billing Company: The company that helps link employers with surgery centers without posting all their prices openly to allow some direct contracting.

Episode 012: Dr. Keith Smith on a fully transparent pricing system for surgery.

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