Hospital Outpatient Prices Sharply Higher than Docs', Study Finds

Published Online: June 26, 2014
Hospital outpatient prices for standard blood tests, cancer screening and other services varied widely and were sharply higher, on average, than prices charged by ambulatory clinics and independent doctors, an analysis of autoworker health-plan spending across 18 cities has found.

The study, based on 2011 health plan spending by Chrysler, Ford Motor Co., General Motors and the United Auto Workers, uncovered whopping price disparities for care that accounted for $68 million in claims that year, including blood work to test cholesterol levels, colonoscopies and physical therapy.

Results, published by the National Institute for Health Care Reform, found hospital outpatient prices varied across 18 cities. Notably, hospital outpatient prices also varied widely among competitors within the same city. That suggests the force behind high hospital prices may be more than high overhead, said James Reschovsky, a senior fellow with Mathematica Policy Research and co-author of the study.

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Source: Modern Healthcare