Stephanie Cajigal is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
In-Office Tubes and Cost
Will in-office tube placement save families (and the healthcare system) money? That depends.
Placing tympanostomy tubes in the clinic eliminates anesthesia charges and hospital or ambulatory surgery center facility fees; however, placing the tubes takes significantly longer in office than in the operating room, and some believe that physicians should be compensated at a higher rate for clinic placement of tubes due to this time differential.
“In-office tube placement won’t be widely adopted unless there’s some incremental acknowledgment, in terms of reimbursement, that placing the tube in office is more work,” Dr. Syms said. “This needs to be a win-win-win: The patient, parents, and their pocketbook have to win, the physician has to win, and the insurers and overall healthcare system have to win.”
Because hospitals stand to lose money if tympanostomy tube placement moves into the office, some healthcare systems may be reluctant to offer in-office placement. As of this writing, there is a unique Category III CPT code for the Tula System that will allow insurers to carefully track the costs of the procedure and determine future reimbursement rates.