'Disposable costs per case can still present significant barriers': What we heard this week

Spine

From evolving payment models of surgical robots to financial advice for surgeons starting practices, here are three surgeon quotes that caught the attention of Becker's readers this week:

1. "Assuming the robot can be obtained by promotional means or alternative financial model, the disposable costs per case can still present significant barriers." — Jonathan Dattilo, MD, of Bradenton, Fla.-based Coastal Orthopedics, on the financial viability of surgical robots for ASCs.

"At several hundred dollars per case, which is not generally reimbursable by insurance carriers, my hope would be that these companies allow for an amended robotic CPT code as this becomes more mainstream to allow physicians to utilize this technology where they feel appropriate. Alternatively, the center can choose to absorb that loss or pass the cost onto the patient."

2. "I try to always keep learning, and I developed an interest in angel investing and venture capital many years ago." — Chris Kager, MD, of Lancaster (Pa.) General Health, on ventures outside of his medical practice.

"I have made various investments in many verticals and have advised companies in early strategy and raising funding. This includes companies as varied as technology startups, food and beverages, medical companies and a recent green hydrogen startup."

3. "The worst decision or investment I've made in my life is listening to financial advisers when I first entered practice, believing they were truly fiduciaries of my hard-earned money and abandoning the simple strategy of index fund capital allocation as a method of building long-term financial security." — Alexander Vaccaro, MD, PhD, of Philadelphia-based Rothman Orthopaedics, on advice for early-career surgeons.

"When you're young and naive, you're often influenced by savvy, smooth-talking financial advisers and disability brokers on the importance of letting them manage your money. What I found over time is that simple dollar cost averaging, exploiting index funds and therefore minimizing unnecessary fees, and maximizing tax-deferred investment opportunities including 529 plans for educational purposes was the most efficient way to develop wealth over time."

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