Government Study Shows Area Hospital Billing Varies Greatly
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Same procedure, different hospitals, different bills.
For example, consider the cost of treating a heart attack with four stents and major complications. At Saint Louis University Hospital, that costs $135,000. At Barnes Jewish Hospital the same procedure costs $72,00 and at Missouri Baptist $54,000.
The new numbers come from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“They are very significant for people who do have to pay the full charges,” hospital finance specialist Gerard Anderson said.
Another example is chest pain treatments which range from $29,000 at Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City to $10,000 at St. Anthony’s in south St. Louis County. A simple case of pneumonia costs $86,000 at Gateway Regional, $30,000 at St. Luke’s in Chesterfield, and about $22,000 at both Missouri Baptist and St. Anthony’s. It will cost you nearly $90,000 to have a pacemaker implanted at Des Peres Hospital, $65,000 at Christian Hospital Northeast, $54,000 at Barnes Jewish and $38,000 at Missouri Baptist.
“The variation is huge and I don’t think we all expected it to be quite that large,” Anderson said of the study. He said the next step is to figure out why hospitals charge what they do since that cost directly affects the uninsured and drives up the cost of insurance premiums.