Monday, December 20, 2010

Bone Marrow Models [UPDATED]

Quick, what do you think of when you hear the term "skimpily-clad models?" New car shows, or Victoria Secret catalogs, perhaps?

How about bone marrow?

NotWithStanding blog tipped us to this story about the Caitlin Raymond International (CRI) bone marrow registry service, which used "flirtatious models in heels, short skirts and lab coats" to convince random mall shoppers and baseball fans to offer up a swab of DNA. No harm, no foul, right?

Wrong: the service neglected to mention that it was billing insurers over $4000 a pop [ed: an interesting question would be "and how much did the insurance companies actually end up paying?"]. Adding insult to injury, CRI is actually a subsidiary of the UMass Memorial Medical Center (located in saucy Worcester. MA). Caught red-handed (so to speak), the hospital has agreed to suspend this practice.

Apparently, "volunteers" gave up more than their DNA: they were also asked for their insurance information, apparently without being informed that said insurance company would be dinged for up to $4300. So successful were these worthies, they got up to 185,000 swabbers. That math doesn't seem to add up, though: 185 thousand donors at better than $4000 per would be three quarters of a billion dollars in billings. That's a lot of loot, even by RomneyCare standards.

So next time you see a pretty girl in a short skirt, make sure no one swabs your wagging tongue.

UPDATE: Definitely click through to NWS's take on this. He hit the nail firmly on the head with this spot-on observation:

"This is one of those problems that seems like it could only be caused by idiotic regulation ... It’s an elective procedure that has absolutely zero health benefit for the insured party. New Hampshire’s legislators, in their infinite wisdom, decided to mandate coverage anyways."

blog comments powered by Disqus