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Astronomical Hospital Charges in US ‘Shocking’, says Study

(Photo: IANS)Given a chance, capitalism will show its ugly side on human life and its care as is evident from the atronomical prices that the US hospital charge their gullible patients, shows a survey released on Monday.

Even minor procedures cost 10 times the actual cost and irrespective of their location or star status, medical hospitals have charged 1000 times the real cost, according to the study, which has taken Medicare as the standard base point and calculated them.

The 50 hospitals with the highest markups in the list are all for profit, including 25 owned by Community Health Systems. Mostly insurance companies pay the prices jacked up by hospitals but those without insurance are at the mercy of these hospitals to survive.

Accident accidents are the ones where the maximum charge has been collected. “That results in higher premiums for auto insurance and for employers who pay into workers’ comp,” said study co-author Ge Bai of Washington and Lee University. She and Gerard Anderson of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have conducted the study.

For their study, Anderson and Bai analyzed 2012 data, the latest available, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to identify the 50 hospitals with the highest markup over Medicare’s allowed charges, which Medicare considers a hospital’s cost. Data for 2013, released last week, showed similar findings.

Here is a comparison of the charges for some tests:

Lipid Panel Blood Test: $10 in one California hospital to $10,169 in another;
Opening blocked arteries: $22,047 to $165,386.
Respiratory infections: Medicare $10,000 vs North Okaloosa Medical Center in Florida at $113,000.
Pneumonia: Carepoint Health-Bayonne in New Jersey charged $193,000 vs Medicare’s $9,600.
Hemorrhage:Okaloosa charged $79,350 vs. Medicare’s reimbursement of $5,177.

Here is the list of top 20 U.S. hospitals with highest price mark-ups:

North Okaloosa Medical Center (Florida) 1,260%

Carepoint Health-Bayonne Hospital (New Jersey) 1,260%

Bayfront Health Brooksville (Florida) 1,250%

Paul B Hall Regional Medical Center (Kentucky) 1,250%

Chestnut Hill Hospital (Pennsylvania) 1,190%

Gadsden Regional Medical Center (Alabama) 1,190%

Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center (Florida)1,150%

Orange Park Medical Center (Florida) 1,140%

Western Arizona Regional Medical Center (Arizona) 1,140%

Oak Hill Hospital (Florida) 1,100%

Texas General Hospital (Texas) 1,080%

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center (Florida) 1,060%

Easton Hospital (Pennsylvania) 1,040%

Brookwood Medical Center (Alabama) 1,030%

National Park Medical Center (Arkansas) 1,030%

St. Petersburg General Hospital (Florida) 1,020%

Crozer Chester Medical Center (Pennsylvania) 1,010%

Riverview Regional Medical Center (Alabama) 1,000%

Regional Hospital of Jackson (Tennessee) 990%

Sebastian River Medical Center (Florida) 990%.


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