Batavia's Dr. Grayson leaves indelible mark on medicine

Dr. Richard Grayson of Batavia was an interesting fellow. That was clear in his obituary last week, which told about his work as an internist and a medical officer for the Air Force. He created the American Academy of Stress Disorders from his experience in dealing with patients who were air traffic controllers.

Dr. Grayson sent me his articles on occasion, and I featured him in a column in April of 2009 when he shared his story of the 1967 tornado that ripped through the area. Basically, his interest in ham radio and emergency communications and how they fared or failed during that storm led to better systems today.

He also had strong opinions about health care costs and he shared an article that he wrote for Medical Economics in February of 2009. His was a simple premise that all hospitals should publish their fee schedules.

He called various financial officers at hospitals to ask why fees were not published. In his opinion, none provided a solid answer. They did confirm they established fees based on what the market would bear. In other words, after checking out charges at about a half dozen nearby hospitals, their hospital would set pricing in such a way that they wouldn't be undermined.

Grayson questioned why a simple urinalysis costs $107 at a hospital, and it was a test he did for free for his patients during office visits.

It was clear that he didn't think hospitals operated like other businesses in a free marketplace, and he thought it was the key factor that would drive us to socialized medicine.

“The insurance company has no interest because it has a sacred, contracted fee schedule,” Grayson wrote. “The hospital charges what it wants, the insurance company pays what it wants, and the twain never meet. And the patient gets stiffed in between the two for what's left over.”

You were indeed a gentleman and a scholar, Dr. Grayson.

For the love bug

I've written in past columns about the Love Bug contest at Fox Valley Volkswagen in West Chicago as pitches are made for why certain area college students deserve a new Volkswagen beetle.

Aubree Hoepper, a 2007 graduate of St. Charles East and currently a senior at Boston University, falls into the category of a worthy candidate.

Hoepper has been involved in numerous community projects, but is currently helping an organization called STIVE, working with kids suffering from sickle cell anemia. She is running in next April's Boston Marathon to raise money to send kids to a summer camp.

She's a finalist in the contest for the new car, which would help her get around the Boston area from school to her work with STIVE and other organizations.

You can help her with a vote at The voting ends at the end of November, and the winner is declared in mid-December.

An important forum

Hopefully, there will be a good crowd at the Arcada Theatre tonight for the anti-drug forum being hosted by the St. Charles Youth Commission.

It's an important topic, and one that saves lives.