The federal government will release the prices that hospitals charge for the first time of 100 most common inpatient procedures making it easier. This is good news for consumers as they will finally get to know the answers to the mystery surrounding as to how much the medical care actually costs.
These charges till now were closely held by facilities to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. The numbers revealed by a Washington Post report threw some light on the a wide variation in the costs of services in the US health-care system.
Where George Washington University’s average bill for a patient on a ventilator was $115,000 in the District, the Providence Hospital’s charged just under $53,000 for the same procedure. The charges of George Washington University for a lower joint replacement were almost $69,000 as compared to the Sibley Memorial Hospital’s average of just under $30,000.
The highest average rate for a lower limb replacement at Virginia’s CJW Medical Center in Richmond is more than $117,000, whereas the Winchester Medical Center charges just $25,600 for every such procedure.
Maryland on the other hand has a unique system for hospital charges and so the differences observed here were smaller, and its average rate charges were also lower in comparison to any other state as reviewed by The Washington Post. The highest average charge for a lower joint replacement was $36,000 by University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, much lower than the highest rates in other states.
Experts however blame the cause of all disparities on the prevalent health system as they can set prices with impunity because consumers seldom see them and more so rarely push for discounts. Even though the government has all this information, it is compiled into a bulky database to access which the researchers are asked to pay.