Data released by the government on Wednesday is shedding light on the mystery of just how high a hospital bill might go - and whether it's cheaper to get that care across town. The Department of Health and Human Services listed thousands of hospitals' charges for 100 common Medicare services. There are vast disparities for the same service among hospitals in the same area, including Central New York.
Average costs for Heart Failure & Shock W MCC (MS DRG 291):
Upstate University Hospital - $50,534.74Community General - $23532.83St. Joseph??s - $22,062.05Crouse Hospital - $21,251.18Oneida Healthcare Center - $21,669.33Auburn Community Hospital - $24,991.09Oswego Hospital - $18,820.11Rome Memorial Hospital, Inc - $19,279.79
Average costs for major joint replacement (MS DRG 470):
Upstate University Hospital - $39,551.59Community General - $24755.32St. Joseph??s - $23,954.57Crouse Hospital - $26,292.66Oneida Healthcare Center - $38,721.43Auburn Community Hospital - $34,167.32Oswego Hospital - $27,229.07Rome Memorial Hospital, Inc. - $43,741.07
Medicare and insurance companies negotiate lower rates than these "list prices." These prices can affect the co-pays that hit insured patients. Government officials told The New York Times that some of the variation in costs might reflect sicker patients or longer stays in the hospital.Keck Hospital of the University of Southern California told the Times that "Academic medical centers have a higher cost structure, and higher acuity patients who suffer from many health complications."
Releasing the information may put pressure on hospitals to lower charges that are out of line.
(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)