Study: Hospital charges vary for same procedures

10:24 PM, May 12, 2013   |    comments
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Grady Memorial Hospital

ATLANTA -- For the first time, a comprehensive survey is comparing what hospitals are charging for surgical and life saving procedures. 

Resource Guide: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Data

Included in the study are hospitals in Georgia, showing a wide range of charges for the same procedure, depending on where the patient is treated.

Dozens of medical procedures are performed 24 hours a day in hospitals across Georgia, but when it comes to what it costs, few if any of them charge the same price for the same thing.

It's now published for all of us to compare in a study from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Take joint replacements or reattaching a limb. At Saint Josephs the procedures can run up to $28,000. At Northside, the same procedures average $62,000. And at Grady, its $85,000.

But the Georgia Hospital Association says there is a reason for that. Grady cares for a large number of uninsured patients, and somebody has to make up the difference.

"If you are in business and you are losing money on most of the people you are serving you have 2 choices. You get someone else to cover the cost or you go out of business," says Glenn Pearson, Executive Vice President of the Georgia Hospital Association.

And another reason why emergency rooms and hospital beds fill up--the treatment of pneumonia or pleurisy.

At Grady, that care carries a price tag of $19,000.
At the Atlanta Medical Center it jumps to a whopping $41,000.
But at North Fulton Regional in Roswell it jumps even higher to more than $55,000

And for life threatening heart failure and stroke, the numbers are equally diverse.

At DeKalb Medical Center, treatment can run up to $15,000.
At the Atlanta Medical Center it jumps to $40,000 and at North Fulton it can skyrocket to $58,000.

Is there an explanation for the huge swing in prices?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid says they don't think so.

"We don't see any and we haven't heard one that makes sense to us, the answer is no," said John Blum, Director of the Centers.

You can review the entire survey by going to our website at and searching 11Alive Help Desk.

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