For the first time ever, the federal government released prices that hospitals charge patients. The new data shows the prices for the 100 most common inpatient procedures.
Until now, hospitals kept their cards close because of competitive advantage, but now the unveiled numbers show a disparity in what hospitals in the same region charge patients for the same procedure.
"The complex and bewildering interplay among ‘charges,' ‘rates,' ‘bills' and ‘payments' across dozens of payers, public and private, does not serve any stakeholder well, including hospitals," says AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock in an online statement. "This is especially true when what is most important to a patient is knowing what his or her financial responsibility will be."
DOWNLOAD: Medicare Provider Charge Data: http://content.foxtvmedia.com/whbq/MedicareProviderChargeInpatientDRG100FY2011.pdf
In the Mid-South region, Methodist overall charges the most for the majority of procedures compared to other area hospitals – they also perform all of the 100 most common procedures listed in the federal data.
For a major joint replacement, it costs the patient $31,400 at Methodist. Eleven miles away at Baptist Memorial Hospital it costs $22,848. That's an $8,552 difference.
If you're trying to save the most money, Magnolia Regional Medical Center charges the least for a major joint replacement: $19, 486. You may pay quite a bit in gas money traveling to the Corinth, Miss., hospital.
For major cardiovascular procedures, Methodist charges $24,041; Baptist Hospital in DeSoto County, Miss., charges $20,631: a $3,410 difference.
But when it comes to having the highest total amount of covered charges for the procedures, St. Francis Hospital is at the top; they perform 79 of the 100 listed procedures.