How Doctors bill for $300-$500 per "well-child exam" and "vaccine visit" for children
Here is how doctors cash-in on vaccine sales to children and their parents courtesy of the American Academy of Family Physicians magazine Family Practice Management (2015 March)
QUESTION: Can doctors profit personally by pushing vaccines?
ANSWER: Yes, they sure can, up to ~$500 per “well child” visit, according to Academy of Family Physicians, in their magazine Family Practice Management.
Not all doctors profit from the vaccines that they administer; for example, doctors working in publicly funded health clinics might simply pull available vaccines (actually the nurses do it) from the onsite pantry to administer under the doctor’s direction.
However, doctors working in private clinics—or in public clinics that provide incentives or “performance bonuses”—can clearly gain several thousand dollars up to tens of thousands of dollars per year by pushing vaccines (pun intended).
When it comes to selling vaccines, remember that “KIDS = CASH.” Family Medicine and Pediatrics offices commonly make big money off of selling vaccines and telling people how essential they are. Inside the profession, these visits are called “vaccine visits” but when talking to the public these are called “well-child visits.”
Here we will look at the strategy as outlined by none other than the American Academy of Family Physicians, in their magazine Family Practice Management, specifically the 2015 March-April issue, specifically volume 22, number 2, pages 24-29; the title of this article is “Immunizations: How to Protect Patients and the Bottom Line” subtitled “Minimizing costs and maximizing reimbursement can make immunizations profitable.”
How can doctors make cash by pushing vaccines?
1. Using cash-back credit cards
"My small practice spent more than $130,000 last year on vaccines. My card has a 2 percent rebate for all purchases, generating a $2,600 return to the practice. ...
2. Using vaccines administered by different routes
“The rotavirus vaccine, because it is oral, is coded separately with 90474. The total reimbursement is $125 [per vaccine visit]. ... well-child exam, ...
3. Giving multi-component vaccines
Note that there are five total components to the DTaP/IPV/Hep B vaccine: three in DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) plus one for IPV and one for Hep B. Because the counseling codes pay per component, the total reimbursement is $300 [per vaccine visit] – an extra $175 [per vaccine visit] for providing brief counseling. ...”
4. Doctor reviews the sales benefits and gets paid for the sales pitch (example of a major conflict of interest)
“However, with a bit of additional work on my part, an extra $175 [per vaccine visit] is available to us. ... Knowing this, I now schedule a short vaccine-counseling visit with the parents instead of the nurse visit. I review the risks and benefits of the vaccines as I did at the two- and four-month visits and then...receive the higher reimbursement." Family Practice Management 2015 Mar-Apr;22(2):24-29