List Prices at Tenet-Owned Hospitals Among Nation’s Highest, California Nurses Association Report Says
Hospitals owned by Santa Barbara-based Tenet Healthcare have higher list prices for health care services than other U.S. hospitals, a study commissioned by the California Nurses Association released Wednesday found, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports (Lyons, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 6/12). The study, conducted by the Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy, analyzed 4,292 U.S. hospitals using Medicare cost reports for fiscal year 2000-2001 (Singer, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/12). Researchers found that Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton has the fourth-highest listed prices in the United States, with charges 761% higher than the actual cost of services, while Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, San Luis Obispo, had the fifth-highest listed prices, at 758% above the actual cost of services (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 6/12). Doctors Medical Center in Modesto had the highest prices, charging 1,092% above costs. The report also found that chain hospitals had higher listed prices than independent facilities, public hospitals or those run by not-for-profit groups.
Tenet spokesperson Steve Campanini said the company "questions the methodology and will not dignify the report with a response" because CNA currently is involved in "a protracted strike" at some Northern California Tenet facilities (Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/12). Jan Emerson, vice president of external affairs for the California Healthcare Association, said the report should be viewed "in terms of what is CNA's agenda," adding, "They're fighting Tenet." In addition, some critics say that comparing prices is not an effective way to compare billing because hospitals almost never receive the listed price from insurers, Medicare or Medicaid, according to the Tribune. Don DeMoro, director of the study, said the report was not biased by conflicts between Tenet and the CNA (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 6/12). The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.