Report: Hospital List Prices Often Do Not Match Quality of Care
Hospitals' list prices typically do not match the quality-of-care provided, according to an analysis released by Castlight Health, Kaiser Health News/Washington Post reports (Rau, Kaiser Health News/Washington Post, 7/22).
The study comes after CMS in May released data that indicate hospitals nationwide charge Medicare "wildly differing" amounts -- sometimes 10 to 20 times what Medicare typically reimburses -- for the same procedure (California Healthline, 5/8).
For the study, Castlight researchers collected data on joint replacements from hospitals in:
- Los Angeles;
- New York; and
The researchers reviewed hospitals' joint replacement charges for procedures that did not involve any major complications. They then cross-referenced those results with safety scores -- combined hospitals' rates of serious complications, infections and other potentially avoidable health problems -- calculated from Medicare data.
The study found that:
- Higher charges for joint replacements did not mean that a hospital is safer than one that charges less for the same procedure;
- The most costly, high-quality hospitals in Boston and Washington, D.C., that perform knee replacements charge less than the most costly low- and average-quality hospitals in those areas; and
- No statistical relationship existed between hospital quality and the cost of knee replacements.
Leapfrog Group Survey Corroboration
A Leapfrog Group survey came to the same conclusion regarding pregnancy care, finding that there was no notable relationship between what self-insured companies paid for pregnancy and delivery services and the hospital's care quality (Kaiser Health News/Washington Post, 7/22).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.