May 8Data released today on show significant variation across the country and within communities in how hospitals price services that may be provided during the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays.

For example, average inpatient prices for services a hospital may provide in connection with a joint replacement range from a low of $5,300 at a hospital in Ada, Okla., to a high of $223,000 at a hospital in Monterey Park, Calif. 

Even within the same geographic area, hospital prices for similar services can vary significantly, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). For example, average inpatient hospital prices for services that may be provided to treat heart failure range from a low of $21,000 to a high of $46,000 in Denver, Colo., and from a low of $9,000 to a high of $51,000 in Jackson, Miss. 

HHS also announced that it will provide funding to data centers to collect, analyze, and publish health pricing and medical claims reimbursement data to make these data useful to consumers. Additionally, HHS has allocated approximately $87 million for states to enhance their rate review programs and further healthcare pricing transparency.

According to HFMA, these disparate price points indicate an industry’s attempt to make the best of a complex system and to enact pricing that allows organizations to both maintain a necessary margin to support the community by serving Medicare and Medicaid patients and providing services such as burn units and trauma centers.

Publication Date: Wednesday, May 08, 2013