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Weekly News, Analysis, and Commentary

Reimbursement Feature

Courtesy of The Maryland Health Care Commission

Registry Reports Hospital Charges

Biloine W. Young • Tue, November 14th, 2017

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To help consumers compare costs among hospitals and bring more transparency to hospital pricing practices, the Maryland Health Care Commission has authored a website that will let Maryland consumers compare hospital rates for a variety of procedures.

According to Andrea K. McDaniels, reporter for The Baltimore Sun, a knee replacement at Medstar Harbor Hospital will cost a patient $37,225 on average, while the same procedure at the University of Maryland Shore Medical System at Easton will cost $22,687.

The new website—wearthecost.org should help consumers compare costs among hospitals and bring more transparency to hospital pricing practices. The website compiles the information all in one place and in a consumer-friendly way. Commission members hope the website will arm users with more information to help them make more informed decisions when choosing a hospital.

McDaniels reports that, at present the analysis incorporates data from 2014 and 2015 and includes comparisons of four procedures—hysterectomy, vaginal delivery, hip replacement and knee replacement—and will expand to include others over time.

“We have felt for a long time that what we needed to do is get some clarity in this area of what things cost,” said Commission Chairman Robert E. Moffit, M.D.

McDaniels reported that some hospital officials, including those who worked with the commission, say the new website is too limited in scope. As Johns Hopkins Hospital spokeswoman Kim Hoppe said in a statement, “We fully support any efforts aimed at providing transparent information to help patients make informed decisions. We believe that the current site does not yet achieve that goal. We will continue to work with [the commission] to better understand the data and methodologies they employed, as well as advocate for the inclusion of additional information that would assist patients in making the right choice for health care services.”

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