Orthopedic Padding

What do you make of this? When I had my cast put on at the orthopedist’s office on Monday, the PA gave me a choice as she prepared to apply the first dressings  after she took the sutures out:

I could get the regular treatment, or I could pay an extra $50 at the desk, and get a special water-wicking material that would go next to my skin under the cast.

I would not intentionally allow water under the fiberglass  shell, but should it happen, yes, I could just let my skin rot. Why would anyone choose not to avoid such inconvenience? Why is this material not the default option?

And why pay at the front desk and not just add it to my bill? Would the insurance company simply not allow this as a legitimate and customary component to cast—making, or is it an easy way to slip $50 in cash to the practice?

I’m going to ask about this when I go on May 9 to have the cast removed. Something’s not quite right here, I’m thinking. Anybody had similar experiences, and figured out what the deal is?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Chic black cast, Fred! Glad to see that I’m not the only retired healthcare professional that views the entire industry with a jaundiced eye. Things have changed and the battle for the dollars is front and center. My guess is that they just wanted to be sure they got their fee up front and knew the insurance co. would deny. Glad you’re making a good recovery and hope things continue go smoothly.

  2. Insurance companies deny the little things up front, and hope the bad things that come as a result won’t bother them. So that doesn’t surprise me.