Health care costs driven by facilities more than doctors

Health care costs driven by facilities more than doctors
August 05 01:00 2014

Health care costs driven by facilities more than doctors.

The cost of a medical procedure depends much more on where it takes place than which doctor performs it.

According to Change Healthcare’s latest Healthcare Transparency Index, the fee that facilities charge for certain procedures varies much more widely than the fee physicians charge.

“This conclusion is especially interesting, given that doctor’s fees often receive the bulk of the blame for escalating health care costs,” the report said.

For example, for four procedures — a hip replacement, knee replacement, C-section delivery and a vaginal delivery — doctors make roughly the same amount, between $2,500 and $3,000. Facilities, on the other hand, charge between about $2,500 and $11,000 for a vaginal delivery. For a hip replacement, the range is even wider — between $2,600 and $32,000.

So what does this mean for patients?

Many are paying a greater portion of their health care costs. As they become more cost-conscious, they can start to weigh in on where they go to get certain procedures. “I do think that physician-patient relationship is very important,” said Doug Ghertner, CEO of Change Healthcare. “But patients should ask their physicians if they have admitting privileges at multiple facilities.”

In many cases, he said, doctors may perform the same procedure at different places.

Change Healthcare has been putting together a cost transparency index each quarter since November 2010. In May, The Tennessean reported on the wide variability in the cost of giving birth.

Read full story at The Tennessean
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