Hospital Pricing for Appendectomy Varies Widely, RWJF Scholar Finds

Apr 24, 2012, 4:07 PM

An appendectomy in California could cost anywhere from $1,500 to more than $180,000, even at the same hospital or within the same county, according to a study led by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholar Renee Y. Hsia, MD, MSc. The study, published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found wide variations in fees for the routine procedure, about one-third of which could not be explained even after reviewing all the cases and accounting for individual health variations.

“We expected to see variations of two or three times the amount, but this is ridiculous,” Hsia told the New York Times. “There’s no rhyme or reason for how patients are charged or how hospitals come up with charges… There’s no other industry where you get charged 100 times the same amount, or 121 times, for the same product.”

Among the other media outlets to report on the study’s findings: ABC News, ABC News Radio, The Associated Press/Washington Post, CBS News and Fox News.

Read the study.

See the stories that ran on ABC World News and CBS Evening News.

Read a post Hsia wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about ambulance diversion and emergency department crowding.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.