Wednesday, August 29, 2007


The New York Times seems surprised by this: Shorter Waits For Botox Than Examination of Moles.

Patients seeking an appointment with a dermatologist to ask about a potentially cancerous mole have to wait substantially longer than those seeking Botox for wrinkles, says a study published online today by The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Researchers reported that dermatologists in 12 cities offered a typical wait of eight days for a cosmetic patient wanting Botox to smooth wrinkles, compared to a typical wait of 26 days for a patient requesting evaluation of a changing mole, a possible indicator of skin cancer.

Of, course, as they explain,

Other dermatologists said financial incentives to perform cosmetic treatments coupled with bureaucratic obstacles in obtaining insurance reimbursement for medical treatments might also have a role in the varying wait times.

Dr. Michael J. Franzblau, a dermatologist in San Francisco, said doctors typically charged $400 to $600 for a Botox antiwrinkle treatment, for which patients pay upfront because insurance does not cover it.

Meanwhile, doctors have to wait for health insurance to reimburse them for mole examinations, for which they receive an average of $50 to $75, Dr. Franzblau said.

Is this really all that surprising or newsworthy? And isn't this comparing apples and oranges? Aren't vanity treatments in a different category than medical care? What's interesting is that no one ever looks to vanity treatments as a model for the rest of our health care system. Less regulation, no third-payer issues, and happy customers. Hmmmmmmm.


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