Hospital Pricing, Mergers Grab Headlines
In Texas, reports indicate that costs vary widely by hospital. Meanwhile, merger talks begin in Connecticut.
The Texas Tribune: Texas Medicaid Costs Vary Widely by Hospital, Area
A routine delivery at St. Luke's The Woodlands Hospital costs Texas Medicaid twice as much as at Christus St. Catherine Hospital in Katy, just 50 miles away. The Laredo Medical Center bills Medicaid nearly $5,500 more for a coronary bypass than the Harlingen Medical Center, though both hospitals are along the Texas-Mexico border. The disparity in pricing is the result of a payment formula that gives each Texas hospital its own individual rate, a system that appears to be losing support in the Legislature. State health officials, seeking ways to curb Medicaid costs and address the concerns of hospitals on the lower end of the payment spectrum, have proposed a single base rate for all hospitals - with a variety of allowances for expensive-to-operate facilities like children's hospitals and state-owned (Ramshaw, 3/26).
The Texas Tribune: Interactive: What Medicaid Pays Texas Hospitals For Select Procedures
How much common medical procedures cost Medicaid - the joint state-federal health care program for indigent children, the disabled and the very poor - varies wildly from hospital to hospital and region to region, according to a Texas Tribune analysis of claims and payments to every hospital in the state. Use our interactive to compare how much Medicaid paid individual hospitals in fiscal year 2009 for 17 common conditions and procedures, ranging from appendectomies to broken bones (Murphy and Aaronson, 3/27).
Health News Florida: Hospital Funding Districts Outmoded?
Dominic Calabro, chairman of Gov. Rick Scott's new commission on hospital funding, says the group will need to answer two questions: Are local hospital taxing districts, which use local property tax assessments to pay for indigent care, still appropriate? Given the variety of ways the districts take in money and pay it out, what kind of set-up works best? "They really are structures of the last century," Calabro said. Most if not all were formed before Medicare and Medicaid were created in the 1960s, he said (Gentry, 3/25).
The Connecticut Mirror: Yale, St. Raphael Open Hospital Merger Talks, Joining Trend
Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of St. Raphael announced plans Friday to explore a merger that would produce one hospital with two campuses in New Haven. The news came just three days after St. Mary's Hospital disclosed plans to form a joint venture making the Waterbury hospital part of a small national chain. Experts say the health care landscape is likely to continue changing as hospitals deal with increased financial pressures and changes to the way care is delivered (Levin Becker, 3/25).
Earlier, related KHN story: As They Consolidate, Hospitals Get Pricier (Appleby, 9/26/10)This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.