I received an article that I feel needs to be shared with you. The article is written by Julie Creswell, Sheri Fink and Sarah Cohen.
They do an excellent job bringing transparency to the huge surge continuing in hospital charges and the unexplainable differences in cost for the same procedure depending on the hospital provider. The dam has been breached when data from 3,000 hospitals is now available for scrutiny and questions as they publish Medicare data.
Let’s take a look at some of the salient points presented in the article I was requested to write about. They report that “hospital charges for some of the most common inpatient procedures surged at hospitals across the country in 2012 from a year earlier, some at more than four times the national rate of inflation, according to data released by Medicare officials on Monday.”
We need to ask why the cost of health care continues to exceed the rate of inflation. The increases reported of over 120 percent over the last decade or so with relatively tame inflation of less than 40 percent and wage increases below 30 percent deserve an answer. We pay 17 percent of our GDP headed for 20 percent while trying to compete for good jobs with countries paying 8 to 12 percent. This is a tough hill to climb.
They report that charges increased for 98 common ailments in all but seven hospitals. Maybe they need to do the type of benchmarking best of the best comparison used by some industries and find out how the ones controlling cost are doing it.
After reading about the scandalous behavior at some VA hospitals, a complete benchmarking study of the ones doing a good job versus the “cook the books to look good and earn a bonus” ones would have surfaced the problems long ago.
“The data for 3,317 hospitals, released for the first time last year by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, again shows broad variations in what hospitals charge for the same procedure. While experts debate why one hospital charges significantly more than another for the same procedure.”