Today we got our first-ever comprehensive look at what hospitals around the country charge for different procedures, and the newly-released data shows some big gaps in what different hospitals in our area charge for the same procedure.
Hospitals protect this cost information like KFC protects its recipe, but as part of the healthcare overhaul, the government today released thousands of pages of documents showing what hospitals charge Medicare and Medicaid for different procedures.
Before we show you the data, there are a couple of important things to remember.
These costs are what the hospitals charge the government, not what they charge healthcare insurance companies who often negotiate deep discounts as part of their contracts.
And as you'll see, there is a big difference between what a hospital charges and what the government ends up actually paying.
But if you come into a hospital without insurance, the first bill you get will probably look much like the charges we're about to show you.
We took a random sampling of some common procedures done at all of the Birmingham metro-area hospitals and DCH in Tuscaloosa and found some big differences in costs.
Respiratory system diagnosis w/ ventilator for less than 96 hours
Avg. covered charges (sticker price of procedure)
Shelby Baptist: $70,795
Avg. total payment (what the government actually pays)
Shelby Baptist: $12,565
Pacemaker implant without major complications
Shelby Baptist: $65,642
St. Vincent: $26,786
Avg. total payment
Shelby Baptist: $11,565
St. Vincent: $10,409
St. Vincent: $10,958
Brookwood: $33, 437
St Vincents: $2,836
Major Joint Replacement without major complications
Baptist Princeton: $72,131
Baptist Princeton: $12,503
To search the cost data for your area, follow this link, then download the Excel spreadsheet at the bottom of the page:
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