Federal Government Releases Hospital Price Comparison Data - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Federal Government Releases Hospital Price Comparison Data

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by Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently released data it compiled from 3,000 U.S. hospitals, comparing prices charged for the 100 most common Medicare-paid procedures.

The federal government said the release of the information is a part of the Obama administration's work to make our health care system more affordable and accountable.

In Nashville, the statistics show the charges are drastically different for treating heart failure at four area hospitals.

They range from St. Thomas Hospital at $10,373 to Tri-Star Centennial Medical Center at $21, 431.

A health care policy expert said the comparison really will not mean much to the general consumer, at first.

"I think the real value comes with the insurance companies," said James F. Blumstein.

Blumstein is a university professor at Vanderbilt and one of Tennessee's foremost experts in this field.

He said the newly released data will benefit insurance companies when they go to set rates with hospitals.

"If I have enough leverage, I'm going to tell them okay, tell me why your prices for the same procedure are so much higher than someone else's prices. I mean, that's how markets work," Blumstein said.

He contends this will also give self-insured entities, like the State of Tennessee, more leverage.

"That's where competition come in, is to say okay, we're going to make you a less attractive option, a non-participating, or an excluded option, if you're really tough about that," according to Blumstein.

While the new information may not directly impact consumers, if their insurance companies can save money, that could benefit everyone in the long run.

For a list of the hospital price comparisons click here.

Email: ccannon@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5ChrisCannon
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