Monday, May 16, 2011

Cost of kidneys

Katie Silberman, who was kind enough to write to me about her husband Bryan's kidney transplant in an exchange last July, through NEPKE, writes again to give a snapshot of the costs.

"We just received the bill for Bryan's kidney transplant last summer.  As an economist, I thought you might be interested in these numbers.  I imagine you have asked your students how much a kidney is worth.  Well, according to Rhode Island Hospital, $44,895.90!  Of course they call it "organ acquisition," since we can't legally buy it.  Here is the breakdown of the bill:

Pharmacy                       15,356.03
Educ training                     160.65
Organ acquisition             44,895.90
M&S supplies                     2,382.96
Lab                                      3,696.65
radiology                                 282.45
operating room                 7,004.55
recovery room                   3,713.85
room charges                    12,966.00
addl room charges              1,504.00

total                                  $91,963.04
insurance adjust                $91,933.14
we owe:                            $29.90

"As a consumer, the $29.90 is ridiculous, but I'll take it.

"Most importantly, Bryan's health is fantastic, and we have our family back!


That is of course just the hospital bill, the docs are paid separately.
Katie further writes 
"Of course, we pay constant co-pays.  In fact, we are now in the process of applying for financial assistance from the pharma companies themselves for Bryan's drugs, which is an entirely different economic/ personal/ political calculus."


NEPKE doesn't charge an organ acquisition fee at the moment, so I assume that line has to do with the evaluation of the donor, cost of the nephrectomy, and subsequent care. 
At the moment, the financing of kidney exchange is still in flux.

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