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Patient Perception of Physician Reimbursement by Medicare for Artificial Urinary Sphincter Placement.

INTRODUCTION: Patient perceptions of physician reimbursement commonly differ from actual reimbursement. This study aims to improve health care cost transparency and trust between patients, physicians, and the health care system by evaluating patient perceptions of Medicare reimbursement for artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) placement.

METHODS: We identified patients who underwent AUS placement at a single institution from 2014 to 2023. After obtaining informed consent, we administered a telephone survey to ask patients about their perceptions of Medicare reimbursement for AUS surgery and the amount they felt the physician should be compensated.

RESULTS: Sixty-four patients were enrolled and completed the survey. On average, patients estimated Medicare physician reimbursement to be $18,920, 25 times the actual average procedure reimbursement. Once informed that the actual amount was $757.52, 97% of respondents felt that the reimbursement was "somewhat lower" (13%) or "much lower" (84%) than what they considered fair. The average amount that patients felt the physician should be paid was $8,844, 12 times the actual average procedure reimbursement. Fifty-four percent of patients estimated their physician's reimbursement to be higher than what they later reported as being "fair," representing a presurvey belief that their physician was overpaid.

CONCLUSIONS: Patient perceptions of physician reimbursement for AUS are vastly different than the actual amount paid. The discordance between patient perception and actual reimbursement could impact how patients view health care costs and the relationship with their provider.

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