Why a patient traveled 1,300 miles for procedure at Oklahoma ASC

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Pennsylvania resident Ruth Clarke traveled 1,300 miles for hip surgery at Surgery Center of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City for an operation with upfront pricing she could better afford, Sunday news program Full Measure reported Oct. 3. 

The procedure was Ms. Clarke's second hip surgery. Her first operation ended up costing $64,000, twice the price she was originally quoted. 

At the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, the procedure cost her $22,000. 

Keith Smith, MD, and a colleague opened the ASC in 2009 and decided to post package procedure prices online after years of watching patients manage unpredictable healthcare costs.

"We basically felt like accessories to a crime, and that really wasn't what we had in mind when we went to medical school," Dr. Smith told Full Measure. "The hospitals were making a killing, and the patients were financially being abused."

The center, owned and operated by about 40 surgeons, includes fees for the surgeon, anesthesiologist and facility in one price.

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