State Roundup: Stark Price Differences At Calif. Hospitals
A selection of health policy stories from California, Massachusetts and Florida.
Los Angeles Times: Fresno, Orange County Rank Lowest On Hospital Prices, Study Show
The typical patient in the San Mateo area was charged nearly $48,000 for a Cesarean birth in 2010 while the average charge in Fresno was less than $13,000, according to a report published Thursday by the California Public Interest Research Group's Education Fund, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization (Terhune, 7/12).
California Healthline: Similar Procedures, Different Prices At California Hospitals
The cost of many hospital services varies widely across the state -- with some facilities charging two or three times as much for a similar procedure, according to a report released yesterday by the California Public Interest Research Group. Higher cost at one hospital doesn't necessarily mean higher quality, according to Pedro Morillas, CalPIRG's legislative director. … The report, "Your Price May Vary: Geographic Variation in Hospital Charges in California," said that some cost disparities could be attributed to regional differences -- such as the $144,900 price tag for angioplasty in the San Jose area, compared to a charge of $44,400 for the same thing in Bakersfield (Gorn, 7/13).
Boston Globe: Mass. Health Coverage Architects In Demand In Other States
Kevin Counihan, an architect of the online insurance exchange that was key to expanding health care coverage in Massachusetts, found himself playing a familiar role this week -- briefing state officials on how to create a new health insurance marketplace. … Counihan was addressing the Governor’s Health Care Cabinet in Connecticut, which like many states is scrambling to build from scratch the insurance apparatus called for in President Obama’s new health care law. Nowhere is there more experienced talent for the job than in Massachusetts, which developed the nation’s first and only universal health coverage system six years ago (Weisman, 7/13).
The Associated Press/Boston Globe: Mass. Lawmakers Save Hospital, Reject Governor's Plans
The 150-year-old Taunton State Hospital, which was on Governor Deval Patrick's chopping block, got a reprieve Thursday as lawmakers voted to override his veto and keep the psychiatric hospital open. The state Senate rejected Patrick’s budget veto to close the hospital in Southeastern Massachusetts. The House of Representatives overrode the veto Wednesday (Young, 7/13).
Health News Florida: Surgeon Gen. Blasts Post Article
A war of words has erupted between one of the state's major newspapers and Dr. John H. Armstrong, who is both Florida's Surgeon General and secretary of the Department of Health. In a statement sent to the media via e-mail Wednesday afternoon, Armstrong called an article about an outbreak of tuberculosis that appeared in the Palm Beach Post this week inaccurate, misleading and "reckless." The headline on the article by Post reporter Stacey Singer was "Worst TB outbreak in 20 years kept secret" (Gentry, 7/12).