The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 8, 2013

Data driven: The varying prices of Oklahoma hospitals

By Darren Jaworkski
Oklahoma Watch

OKLAHOMA CITY — Hospitals in Oklahoma charge very different amounts for the same medical treatment, even within a city or community.

Now you can see what those variations are thanks to release of hospital data by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services on what each hospital bills for common in-patient services.

The database allows you to select from up to 100 common types of medical conditions, then compare how much each hospital on average billed Medicare, and how much it was paid by Medicare, in 2011.

Rick Snyder, a vice president at the Oklahoma Hospital Association, said, “Hospitals use different approaches to setting their charges.” He added that hospitals rarely get from Medicare the full amount charged.

“Hospitals that have a higher percentage of uninsured people are typically going to have to recover costs, whether through the payment or the charge. It’s going to be reflected in shifting costs to insured patients,” Snider said. “Some hospitals have unprofitable services that is part of their mission … That’s going to be reflected in higher prices.”

One note in the database: In the drop-down menu for medical conditions, “CC” means complications and comorbidities, and “MCC” means major complications and comorbidities. Comorbidities is when two or more diseases exist at the same time.

NOTE: Click on "Choose a value" under the city tab on the left-hand side of the graphic below. Select Enid for local hospital data.

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Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state.