The following breakdown of the cost of a "strep only" throat culture came to my attention too late for inclusion in the above Commentary. This accounting was prepared by a university hospital laboratory director as justification for charging $7.50 for each such culture. The technique employed is the inoculation of a sheep blood agar plate plus two weak bacitracin disks for differentiation of group A from other hemolytic streptococci.
See Table in the PDF File
Obviously 40 minutes of personnel time (exclusive of professional supervision) is unreasonable. Granting that many other factors require consideration, ranging from the expense of a case of rheumatic fever on the one hand to the fact that the laboratory helps support other facets of hospital operation on the other, this cost is clearly prohibitive. Pediatricians and laboratory directors must find a better way.–
- Copyright © 1971 by the American Academy of Pediatrics