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How Much Will It Cost? How Americans Use Prices in Health Care

How many Americans are trying to find how much their health care will cost them? How are they using the information they find? Public Agenda wanted to know and conducted a representative survey of Americans to find the answers.

Here are key results from their survey:

  • Over half of Americans [56%] say they’ve tried to determine their out-of-pocket costs before getting care.
  • Most Americans are open to looking for better-value care, with 71% indicating higher prices are not typically a sign of better quality care.
  • Looking for price information does not necessarily mean comparing prices.
  • For those who have compared prices, most believe it has saved them money.
  • Obstacles to increasing more cost comparisons exist. Half of Americans are unsure how to find price information. Over half [57%] don’t think doctors in their network charge differently for the same service.
  • Insurers and providers could do more to help Americans manage their health care costs. Most [69%] thought a website showing different charges would be helpful.

Further details are available in the report.

Source: How much will it cost? How Americans use prices in health care. Public Agenda, March 2015. http://www.publicagenda.org/files/HowMuchWillItCost_PublicAgenda_2015.pdf

Related resource: Transparency for consumers: a hospital toolkit. American Hospital Association, July 2014. http://www.ahacommunityconnections.org/content/14transparencytoolkit.pdf

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

Surgeries in Hospital-Owned Outpatient Facilities, 2012

Over half [53.1%] of all invasive, therapeutic surgeries performed on adults by hospitals were in an outpatient setting, according to a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Nearly all hospital-based surgeries related to the eye [98.8%] and ear [91.8%] were performed in an ambulatory care setting, while only 2.3% of obstetrical procedures were performed on an outpatient basis.

The report provides data on all categories of invasive, therapeutic surgeries performed on adults in community hospitals in 2012, based on an analysis of data from 28 states. The inpatient and outpatient volume, rate per 100,000 population, and percentage of surgeries that were performed in an ambulatory setting are provided for each type of procedure. Noninvasive surgeries and surgeries typically performed for diagnostic or exploratory purposes, such as colonoscopies, were excluded from the AHRQ analysis.


Source: Wier LM; Steiner CA; Owens PL. Surgeries in hospital-owned outpatient facilities, 2012. HCUP Statistical Brief [Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project], no. 188, Feb. 2015. http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb188-Surgeries-Hospital-Outpatient-Facilities-2012.pdf

Related resource: Chart 3.11: Percentage share of inpatient vs. outpatient surgeries, 1993-2013. In: Trendwatch Chartbook 2015. American Hospital Association, Feb. 19, 2015. http://www.aha.org/research/reports/tw/chartbook/2015/chart3-11.pdf

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

2014 Private Equity Acquisitions in Health Care Sector

Irving Levin & Associates has released 2014 statistics on the number of private equity acquisitions in the health care sector.  It reports 144 deals in 2014, with 95 of them involving health services and another 49 in health technology. On the health services side, long term care saw the most activity, with 38 deals involving $4.14 billion. There were 4 hospital deals valued at $545 million.

Source: Where private equity spent its healthcare dollars in 2014. Health Care Deal News [Irving Levin & Associates], Feb. 23, 2015. http://www.levinassociates.com/healthcare/health-care-deal-news-150223

See also earlier post: https://aharesourcecenter.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/private-equity-and-non-profit-hospitals-strange-bedfellows-or-saving-grace/

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

ACA Insurance Expansion and Uncompensated Hospital Care Costs

Hospital uncompensated care costs were $7.4 billion less in 2014 than they would have been if insurance coverage had remained at 2013 levels. That’s according to an updated analysis by HHS, based on estimated 2014 growth in insurance coverage due to the Affordable Care Act. It’s a 21% decrease in hospital uncompensated care between 2013 and 2014.

Medicaid expansion accounted for a significant portion of the uncompensated cost savings in states that expanded Medicaid versus those states that didn’t. An additional $1.4 billion in uncompensated costs might have been saved if the the non-expansion states had increased Medicaid coverage.

Here are the numbers from the report:

Hosp uncompensated care reduction & ACA

Furthermore, HHS analyzed hospital financial reports and found the volume of uninsured/self-pay admissions has fallen in major hospital systems, with a significant drop in states with Medicaid expansion.


Source: Insurance expansion, hospital uncompensated care, and the Affordable Care Act. US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, March 23, 2015. http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2015/MedicaidExpansion/ib_UncompensatedCare.pdf

Related resources:

Economic impact of the Medicaid expansion. US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, March 23, 2015. http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2015/MedicaidExpansion/ib_MedicaidExpansion.pdf

Uncompensated hospital care cost fact sheet. American Hospital Association, Jan. 2015. http://www.aha.org/content/15/uncompensatedcarefactsheet.pdf

See also earlier post: https://aharesourcecenter.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/impact-of-insurance-expansion-on-hospital-uncompensated-costs-in-2014/

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

CORPORATE CULTURE: How do you merge hospitals?

I’ve had this article sitting in my “interesting articles” pile since last summer.  Although it is not hot off the presses, the subject is timeless.  It is a review of the overarching importance of getting corporate culture right in the picking of merger partners in the first place and then in putting together a successful consolidated organization.  The article is laced with actual examples of hospital mergers and expert opinion.  It covers the importance of communication with employees, considerations in creating the new governing board, and how to determine what is negotiable and what is a deal breaker in merger talks.  There are two sidebars:

  • A cultural compatibility exercise
  • 7 questions to consider in assessing merger partners

Full text of this article is available at no charge.

Source: Stempniak, M. (2014, July). The art of blending cultures. H&HN. Hospitals & Health Networks. 88(7), 48-52. Retrieved from http://www.hhnmag.com/display/HHN-news-article.dhtml?dcrPath=/templatedata/HF_Common/NewsArhttp://www.hhnmag.com/display/HHN-news-article.dhtml?dcrPath=/templatedata/HF_Common/NewsArticle/data/HHN/Magazine/2014/Jul/fea-hospital-mergers-blending-culturesticle/data/HHN/Magazine/2014/Jul/fea-hospital-mergers-blending-cultures Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

How many health care group purchasing organizations (GPOs) are there?

The Healthcare Supply Chain Association has a brief FAQ-type primer that has some interesting statistics about group purchasing organizations (GPOs).

  • 600+ organizations provide group purchasing services
  • About 30 of these are big GPOs
  • On average, 72 percent of hospital purchases are made through GPOs
  • Just about all hospitals use GPOs
  • The first GPO was the Hospital Bureau of New York, created in 1910

Source: Healthcare Supply Chain Association. A Primer on Group Purchasing Organizations: Questions and Answers. Retrieved from http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.supplychainassociation.org/resource/resmgr/research/gpo_primer.pdf Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org


FUTURE: Inpatient will be smaller proportion of revenue

Here is a projection from consultants BDC Advisors about the changing proportion of hospital revenue coming from inpatient care.

10 Years Ago (2004)

  • 74 percent inpatient
  • 22 percent outpatient
  •   4 percent other

Today (2014)

  • 62 percent inpatient
  • 27 percent outpatient
  •   9 percent physicians
  •   2 percent other

10 Years From Now (2024)

  • 43 percent inpatient
  • 25 percent outpatient
  • 18 percent physicians
  •   9 percent health plan
  •   4 percent pharmacy
  •   1 percent other

Source:  Eggbeer, B., and Bowers, K. (2014, Oct.). Health care’s new game changer: thinking like a health plan. Healthcare Financial Management, 68(10), 53-59. Retrieved from http://www.hfma.org/Content.aspx?id=25364 Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org


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