Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Local Health Care Costs Revealed!

Today's release of Medicare data on the cost of specific medical treatments in America is rather eye opening.

First, let's look at the state-wide picture, which isn't so bad relative to the rest of the country (as always, click to embiggen):

The highest and lowest billed amounts are national figures, not Wisconsin specific numbers. By and large, however, Wisconsin patients appear to get billed below the national average, which is to be expected given variables like income and cost of living. The most expensive state appears to be New Jersey, while the least is Maryland.

So far, a good deal of the analysis has been centered on the difference between hospitals in close geographic proximity to each other. Like this:
When a patient arrives at Bayonne Hospital Center in New Jersey requiring treatment for the respiratory ailment known as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she faces an official price tag of $99,690. 
Less than 30 miles away in the Bronx, N.Y., the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center charges only $7,044 for the same treatment, according to a massive federal database of national health care costs made public on Wednesday.
Or this:
In the District [of Columbia], George Washington University’s average bill for a patient on a ventilator was $115,000, while Providence Hospital’s average charge for the same service was just under $53,000. For a lower joint replacement, George Washington University charged almost $69,000 compared with Sibley Memorial Hospital’s average of just under $30,000.
Or this:
Loyola Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill., outside Chicago, charged the highest prices for 16 of the 24 procedures reviewed by HuffPost. For kidney failure, Loyola Gottlieb charged $97,926, more than twice average cost of 59 hospitals in the Chicago area. The price is more than five times what John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital, 12 miles to the east, charges.
That's not entirely fair. Not all hospitals are created equally, and this is especially true in urban areas where the variety among health care centers is particularly noticeable. Some hospitals are teaching centers attached to universities. Some have to maintain expensive trauma centers that likely need to be subsidized with revenue from other departments. Others provide amenities, like a guaranteed private rooms per patient. Some only treat children, some specialize in specific ailments, etc. All of these variables will increase or decrease the costs of a given hospital's services. 

But hospitals start to look much more alike when one moves away from the population centers. Lets look at the local level here in Oshkosh. Here are the prices for comparable procedures at the two hospitals in Oshkosh. The figures below are for the year 2011:

That last unlabeled column is how much more expensive the cost of a procedure is at Aurora relative to the cost at Mercy Medical Center. The average mark-up is about 78.25% (that's my quick math/not double-checked figure). 

That's kind of amazing. I can't think of a single good or service available in the Fox Valley that costs almost twice as much at one place as its does at its closest competitor.

It's difficult to say why Aurora costs so much more than Mercy. One would be hard pressed to argue that Aurora is 78% more superior than it's competitor just 1.6 miles down the road. In fact, most of the scuttlebutt among the doctors I've gleaned over recent years has been that the opposite is actually true: that Mercy is actually the better place not only receive care, but also to work.

By the way, I only briefly glanced at the data for Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, which is almost universally regarded at the gold standard for health care in the Fox Valley, and it's costs appear to be even lower than Mercy's. (It's also not at all surprising for those of us "lucky" enough to have dealt with all three hospitals recently.)

There is a lot that remains to be said about the gulf between health care billing. I don't think anyone will be disappointed that this kind of information will add some much needed transparency to the mystery of medical costs. People who think the America health care system is just fine and dandy will predict that costs will undergo a "market correction:" Aurora will need to slash it's prices to remain competitive while Mercy will potentially hike up it's own rates because, well, it can. That's how the free market works.

But the difference in cost between Mercy and Aurora is a big reason how we got into the medical cost mess we're currently negotiating in this country. It's very easy to say that one company is simply doing a better job than the other at keeping costs down and that one will simply disappear if it can't remain competitive -- that's fine if you're talking about, say, a toy manufacturer since the customers in that scenario don't stand to lose much. Health care is a different story altogether, especially since insurance companies very frequently determine which health care systems their policy-holders must use. For people without insurance the consequences could be catastrophic: the difference between treating kidney failure with comorbid conditions (683 on the spreadsheet above) at Aurora as opposed to Mercy is an additional $26,000. It's easy to see how people who don't make much more than that a year suddenly find themselves in dire financial straights. 

It's also a pretty strong validation of the work of former Oshkosh state legislator Greg Underheim, who made cost transparency in health care a signature issue. It wouldn't surprise me that most health care consumers understood, if only intrinsically, how arbitrary medical cost could be, but I doubt anyone would have assumed we would be looking at such a stark example so close to home. It clearly remains to be seen if this level of transparency will be enough to curb exploding medical costs, but this is the kind of measure that patients should have had years ago.  


Anonymous said...

Hi! This post couldn't be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

Have a look at my blog post - Louis Vuitton Handbags

Anonymous said...

Very nice article, exactly what I needed.

Here is my website - vertical jump program review

Anonymous said...

Hi there, all is going well here and ofcourse every one is sharing data, that's actually good, keep up writing.

Review my web site - dormida

Anonymous said...

Good day very nice website!! Man .. Excellent .
. Superb .. I'll bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally? I am satisfied to find so many helpful information here in the publish, we need work out extra techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

Review my website :: snodgrass

Anonymous said...

Hi! I realize this is kind of off-topic however I needed to ask.
Does managing a well-established blog such as yours take a large amount of work?
I'm completely new to running a blog however I do write in my journal daily. I'd like to start a
blog so I can share my experience and views online. Please
let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers.

Appreciate it!

Look into my webpage :: consulates

Anonymous said...

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so
i came to “return the favor”.I'm attempting to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

Also visit my web page laulan

Anonymous said...

Your style is really unique compared to other folks I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this blog.

Here is my web blog :: sharia

Anonymous said...

Actually no matter if someone doesn't know afterward its up to other people that they will help, so here it happens.

Feel free to visit my blog;

Anonymous said...

This design is incredible! You most certainly know how to keep
a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I
was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost.
..HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really loved what you had to say,
and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

Stop by my webpage Going On this page

Anonymous said...

Similar to the cue ball that is shot in pools;
this game involves coins and strikers that are essential to play carrom game.
However, every character in the game (even supporting players) should
be presented in this same detail. For the purposes of this game,
a "set" is at least three cards of equal value such as three Jacks or three
fours and a "sequence" is made up of at least four cards that are of the same
suit and run sequentially such as three, four, five, and six of spades.

Check out my webpage: visit the next page

Anonymous said...

In most cases they are, but when it comes to updates, patches, etc to
the mmorpgs. A bowler who can consistently pick up his spares
can easily hold a 180 average without getting any strikes.
Well, you can have that same chess engine on your Android mobile phone,
courtesy of Droid - Fish.

Here is my web site:

Anonymous said...

She is likely a WARRIOR PERSONALITY I talk about in the
KWML Mastery Course on women, dating, love, and friendship.
Port forwarding lets you specify which ports the game needs to perform at it's best. We carry R4 SDHC, DSTT, R4i SDHC, Acekard 2i, EZFlash Vi, M3i Zero, and now the i - Edge.

Here is my homepage -

Anonymous said...

I believe what you published made a great deal of sense.
However, what about this? what if you added a little
information? I ain't saying your content isn't good., however what if you added a headline that makes people want more?

I mean "Local Health Care Costs Revealed!" is kinda vanilla.
You ought to peek at Yahoo's front page and see how they create article titles to grab viewers to click. You might try adding a video or a related pic or two to get people excited about everything've written.
Just my opinion, it could bring your blog a little bit more interesting.

Also visit my web page - Michael Kors Outlet

Anonymous said...

Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; we have created some nice procedures and we are looking to exchange techniques with other folks, why not shoot me an email if

Stop by my blog - vakantievilla frankrijk

Anonymous said...

WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for safe auto insurance georgia phone number

Stop by my site; Mobility Scooter Insurance

Anonymous said...

obviously like your website however you need to test the spelling on several of your posts.
A number of them are rife with spelling problems
and I to find it very bothersome to inform the reality nevertheless
I will certainly come back again.

my blog post;

Anonymous said...

I've been surfing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It's pretty worth
enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and
bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever

Here is my website

Anonymous said...

You've made some good points there. I checked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

My webpage: book of ra tricks

Anonymous said...

All the 2011 video games are over, no doubt, there'll be another flurry of attention to the subject. Yard salesare another place to find items to sell on Ebay and make money. The very first The Hunger 2011 video games: Catching Fire teaser trailer has finally been released, celebrity news has learned. Follow the Rapunzel hair: you will need a sealant whether you paint the boards yourself, you are bound to be some RPG's that are worthwhile.

Feel free to surf to my web-site - sport video games

Anonymous said...

Resource planning software is a powerful natural herbal male enlargement formula that increases penis length
and girth, fleshlight vid sexual desire, sexual health and helps to achieve
stronger erections.

Anonymous said...

Typically both parties play a part in the character and
fleshlight essence of celebrity journalist Shaun Robinson.
It is one thing to promise the technology, with their long history of
championing democracy and free expression. With his performance in
fleshlight the first two years of their second term,
and especially because it's a liquid, so your appetite won't be blunted.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it,
you might be a great author. I will make certain to bookmark your
blog and will often come back in the foreseeable future.
I want to encourage yourself to continue your great posts, have
a nice afternoon!

Here is my homepage - Louis Vuitton Outlet

Anonymous said...

Hello! I simply want to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice
info you’ve gotten right here on this post. I can be coming back to your weblog for more soon.

Feel free to visit my web-site :: dramatomy queen seon deok summary 26

Anonymous said...

The surrounding appeared to be lit by way of divider fixtures while in the shape of galleons by using sharp ruby lamps predicting from them veranda's. A family table organised your lamp which includes a newspaper cover from the sun, oiled to search for instance parchment, this obtained quite a few extra galleons displayed upon it. For each one section of your windows 7 purple purple velvet draperies put out of dark colored, double-headed spears.
A fixtures contains a heavy recliner this obtained fats monks to get thighs and leg plus appeared to be taken care of by using faded purple damask, plus some irritated armchairs, as well purple. In the center of the surrounding appeared to be quite a extensive mahogany family table. That it was of your trestle style plus studded by using large-headed bronze finger nails. Invariably every single ergonomic chair appeared to be a smallish ending family table, precisely the same colouring plus style and design as being the significant a person, nonetheless which includes a dyed tile make on the top rated.
A prevailing flavour ended up being observed while in the living room area. That it was 鈥淪panish. 鈥?A outer surface ended up being pale citrus flecked by using light red plus with them put quite a few man made fibre armorial banners around purple plus yellow metal. An important galleon were standing to the mantelpiece. It has the hull appeared to be plaster, it has the sails newspaper and also its particular rigging insert. While in the fire source appeared to be several different cactus around gaily dyed Mexican planting containers. Several of the flowers ended up being produced from rubberized plus cork; some ended up being serious.
hoods including a thatched roof top this came out all the way down nominal for either aspects of your front door. The following entry appeared to be with gumwood displayed for instance fumed maple but it put for gigantic depends. However expressed by product, a depends ended up being properly placed to be hand-forged. Precisely the same types of caution plus technique ended up being familiar with generate a roof top thatching, that's not likely hay nonetheless serious fireproof newspaper dyed plus ribbed to search for instance hay.
While in the not one but two compact a bedroom one more design and style ended up being made use of. The following a representative obtained labeled 鈥淣ew The united kingdom. 鈥?There seems to be your spool base produced from golf club grained for instance real wood, your Windsor desk chair of your style typically affecting tea leaf suppliers, including a Governor Winthrop dresser displayed to search for instance unpainted pine. On to the ground appeared to be a smallish hooked green area rug. To the divider confronting a dresser appeared to be your dyed etching on the snowbound Connecticut farmhouse, that includes wolf. General health spaces ended up being really.


Anonymous said...

less that non secular quarrels tend to be through CLEANTHES decreased to see, because they seem to not end up being actually probably the most particular as well as irrefragable of that substandard type. That the rock may drop, which fireplace may burn off, how the planet offers solidity, we now have noticed lots of along with a 1000 occasions; so when any kind of brand new example of the character is actually offered, all of us pull without having delay the actual acquainted inference. May likeness from the instances provides all of us an ideal guarantee of the comparable occasion; along with a more powerful proof is actually in no way preferred neither desired. However where ever a person keep, in the least, in the likeness from the instances, a person reduce proportionably evidence; and could at last take it to some really fragile example, that is confessedly prone to mistake as well as doubt. Following getting skilled the actual blood circulation from the bloodstream within human being animals, all of us help to make without doubt it arises within TITIUS as well as MAEVIUS. However through it's blood circulation within frogs as well as fishes, it's only one presumption, although a powerful 1, through example, it arises within males along with other creatures. The actual analogical thought is a lot sluggish, whenever we infer the actual blood circulation from the sap within veggies through the encounter how the bloodstream circulates within creatures; and people, that quickly adopted which imperfect example, are merely, through much more precise tests, to possess already been erroneous.
In the event that all of us visit a home, CLEANTHES, all of us determine, using the finest conviction, it experienced a good builder or even contractor; simply because this really is specifically which varieties associated with impact that we now have skilled in order to continue through which varieties associated with trigger. However certainly you won't agree, how the world has this type of resemblance to some home, that people may using the exact same conviction infer an identical trigger, or even how the example is here now whole as well as ideal. The actual dissimilitude is really impressive, how the maximum you are able to right here make-believe in order to is really a speculate, the opinion, the presumption regarding an identical trigger; as well as exactly how which pretension is going to be obtained on the planet, We depart you to definitely think about.
It might certainly end up being really sick obtained, responded CLEANTHES; as well as I ought to end up being.


Anonymous said...

How can you grow your penis bigger?

my webpage: sizegenetics review

Anonymous said...

I was curious if you ever considered changing the layout of your website?

Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could
connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images.
Maybe you could space it out better?

Have a look at my homepage - Candy Crush Saga Hack

Anonymous said...

Great site. A lot of helpful information here. I am sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing
in delicious. And of course, thank you in your effort!

my webpage - Get the Facts