Nation

US releases data on what hospitals charge

WASHINGTON — For the first time, the government is publicly revealing how much hospitals charge, and the differences are astounding: Some bill tens of thousands of dollars more than others for the same treatment, even within the same city.

Why does a joint replacement cost 40 times as much at one hospital as at another across the country? It’s a mystery, federal officials say.

Advertisement

‘‘It doesn’t make sense,’’ Jonathan Blum, Medicare deputy administrator, said Wednesday. The higher charges do not reflect better care, he said. And the amounts are too huge to be explained by obvious differences among hospitals, such as a more expensive regional economy, older or sicker patients, or the extra costs of running a teaching hospital, he said.

The average charges for joint replacement range from about $5,300 at an Ada, Okla., hospital to $223,000 in Monterey Park, Calif., the Department of Health and Human Services said. That does not include doctors’ fees.

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Blum said the Obama administration hopes that releasing the information, at the website www.cms.gov, will help lead to answers to the riddle of hospital pricing — and pressure some hospitals to lower their charges. The database also will help consumers shop around, he said.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com