Thursday, May 9, 2013

Medical Cost Release

The release of hospital expenditure data (and what federal reimbursement for these expenditures) seems like it could have significant effects on the evolving US debate about health-care policy.  The Washington Post notes the vast range in medical charges for the same procedure:
In the District, George Washington University’s average bill for a patient on a ventilator was $115,000, while Providence Hospital’s average charge for the same service was just under $53,000. For a lower joint replacement, George Washington University charged almost $69,000 compared with Sibley Memorial Hospital’s average of just under $30,000.
Virginia’s highest average rate for a lower limb replacement was at CJW Medical Center in Richmond, more than $117,000, compared with Winchester Medical Center charging $25,600 per procedure. CJW charged more than $38,000 for esophagitis and gastrointestinal conditions, while Carilion Tazewell Community Hospital averaged $8,100 in those cases.
 The lack of price transparency has probably been a major challenge for getting more market-oriented reforms.

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