Nationwide Hospital Charges

On the heels of yesterday’s post on U-M’s analysis of its visualization activities, today’s post also touches on the impacts of visualization, although on a much broader scale. The New York Times recently released an interactive data visualization map that tells you how much hospitals charge per procedure. You can search by location (state & zip code) and see how the charges compare to national averages. Visualization is based on 2011 data collected from 3,300 hospitals and includes the top 100 common procedures (including hip replacement, heart operations, and gallbladder removal).  Naturally, there is an accompanying article.
The pricepoints that the NYT used to build its interactive map comes from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the full (warning: massive) dataset can be found here.
UMHS reported costs slightly above the national average, but AnnArbor.com points out that it:
doesn’t mean patients or their insurance companies are paying those charges…Patients then pay whatever’s left after the insurance or Medicare payments.
UMHS Medicare reimbursement was also high, to which UMHS Headlines responded:

The payment we receive for treating Medicare patients is set by the federal government, not us, and takes into account how sick the patient is. Since we care for some of the most acutely ill patients in the country, including transfers from other hospitals and patients with underlying conditions that complicate their care, it is not surprising that we should be reimbursed at a higher rate.

Our Medicare reimbursement also includes payments that offset some of our costs for caring for a disproportionate share of uninsured patients, and for paying for the salaries, training and supervision of more than 1,100 resident physicians.

Read the full UMHS response here, and the AnnArbor.com article here.

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