Southeast PA most expensive for healthcare

    The second report this month on hospital performance in Pennsylvania shows the death rate of patients is going down across the state. The report also finds hospitals in Southeast Pennsylvania are the most expensive in the state. From WHYY’s health and science desk, Kerry Grens reports.

    The second report this month on hospital performance in Pennsylvania shows the death rate of patients is going down across the state. The report also finds hospitals in Southeast Pennsylvania are the most expensive in the state. From WHYY’s health and science desk, Kerry Grens reports.

    Pennsylvania Healthcare Cost Containment Council report

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    Transcript:

    Hospitals in this region consistently charge about 50% more for services than the statewide average. And among them, Temple Hospital has one of the biggest pricetags for care. Bob Lux is Temple Health System’s Chief Financial Cfficer. He says 45 percent of their patients are on Medicaid, and those patients tend to have more complex health problems.

    Lux: So it is more expensive than treating other folks, and on top of that the payment rates are substantially below your costs.

    Lux says Medicaid underpays the hospital for care, so it shifts losses to private payors. Ken Braithwaite the regional executive for the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council says there are other factors that make Southeast Pennsylvania expensive.

    Braithwaite: Another part is that there is a significant shortage of key healthcare professionals both physicians, nurses, pharmacists, etc. And finally there is an additional cost based on the number of academic med centers here in the southeast to educate physicians which are built in to the charges that hospitals charge.

    Braithwaite points out that what hospitals charge is not necessarily what they receive. That information is kept private between hospitals and insurance companies.

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