A new report on the cost and quality of hospital services in Colorado concludes that you don't always get what you pay for.
The Colorado Hospital Value Report looked into the costs of various routine procedures around the state and found prices vary by more than 800%.
For example, an abdominal ultrasound at one hospital cost $115. The same procedure at another hospital will cost $1,029.
The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Colorado Business Group on Health put together the report to show that higher price does not always mean you are getting a higher quality of service. The authors of the report used data to put together a composite quality score for hospitals statewide, and compared that to the average prices of services.
At the Medical Center of Aurora, the report found the relative cost for outpatient services was 630% of medicare. The composite quality score is 78.6.
At Centura Health Parker Adventist Hospital, the relative cost for outpatient services was 448% of medicare, with a quality score of 53.2.
The Colorado Hospital Association released a response to the report, saying in part:
“When looking at price and quality, comparisons should be made across comparable hospitals – such as by type, geography and service offerings. Comparing small critical access hospitals to large academic medical centers to community hospitals to urban trauma centers, which vary significantly in the range of services offered and the patient populations served can misleading. For some hospitals and on some services, because patient numbers are small, it can be very challenging to develop reliable quality measures. A hospital may perform well on one report card and poorly on another. Even within this report, hospitals may perform well overall while scoring poorly in one service category. Consumers are encouraged to seek additional information for the specific service they need."