Hospital Costs Vary, Medicare Reimbursement Stays Flat
Think your hospital could not get anymore expensive?
In Illinois you are right if you receive care at the University of Chicago Medical Center and Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park. Both of those hospitals toped the list of the most expensive in state according to data released by the federal government.
Where does your medical center rank? Look it up on this searchable database from the New York Times.
The numbers are based on charges for the 100 most frequently billed categories for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2011. Gottlieb and the University of Chicago ranked as the highest in 19 different categories.
A University of Chicago spokesman said that costs were high due to operating two emergency rooms. Gottlieb issued a statement that stated charges went down by 25 percent in January.
Medical centers often do not receive their list pricing for procedures. For example, insurance companies pay out negotiated prices for treatments. The most alarming statistic on the list is the wide disparity in price between hospitals for procedures. This is especially troubling because while the hospital rates often vary the amount of Medicare reimbursement rarely does.
Patients often get treatment without shopping for the best price. Price is often a secondary concern in this market as patients seek treatment from familiar doctors or recommended specialists. The medical marketplace does not operate efficiency, and the Medicaid system is failing to keep up with the needs of patients.