When you have surgery, you get a bill from the surgeon for his effort, and a larger bill from the hospital for all the costs of providing the facility and the care that you needed. The surgeon is not an employee of the hospital, but an independent practitioner.

Look around you at the radiation therapy facility. Everything and everyone you see, except your doctor and a few personal effects in his/her office, belongs to the hospital. You will get a large bill from the hospital for all the facilities and personnel involved in your care, and a smaller bill from ROA, for the services of the physicians.

We really hate insurance, but it is a fact of life.

There at least a dozen insurance companies with significant power in our market, and other smaller ones as well. Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company; neither the doctor group (ROA) nor the hospital is a party to that contract! You will get professional bills from ROA, and technical bills from the hospital, who owns the facility and the equipment. ROA and the hospital may or may not have contractual discount arrangements with your insurance company. We do not know the particulars of your policy, and it is impossible for us to keep up with all the changes that can occur, but we will try to give you guidance based on our experience with your company.

For ROA, phone Pat McNamara at 703-698-7485. For Inova Fairfax Hospital and the TomoTherapy Center, phone (703) 776-3731 and ask for the insurance counselor. For Potomac Radiation Oncology Center, phone 703-670-3349 and ask for the insurance counselor. Nobody on our staffs will be able to make firm assurances to you about what will or will not be covered. Only a representative of your insurance company can do that.

Radiation therapy is expensive. We strongly recommend that you call your insurance company and discuss the treatment you are going to have. PLEASE get the full name of the person to whom you speak, and finds out how to get back to that person if necessary. Take notes. Write down your notes with date, time, person and phone number. Any assurances that you can get in advance are worth far more than arguments later.

If you do not have insurance, call our social worker, Corrine Cook, at (703) 776-3731. She only occasionally works miracles, unfortunately, but she can often be of significant help in finding your way through the system. Depending on your place of residence, citizenship status, and financial situation, help may be available.