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Health Care Costs Vary Around The State

Oregonians learned the answers to one of health care’s most persistent mysteries Wednesday: How much do various hospital procedures cost?

Prices vary widely from city to city and hospital to hospital.

In an effort to control health care costs, the federal government released what thousands of hospitals charge for various procedures.

Some procedures are 20 times more expensive in one hospital than another. 

In Oregon, the differences aren’t as extreme. But a major joint replacement will cost $55,000 at Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville and $28,000 at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center in Portland.

Willamette Valley didn’t immediately return OPB’s call for comment.

The map below shows costs of major joint replacement around the state.

Some hospitals in the survey say they treat more complicated patients, or have higher costs as a teaching hospital. But Jonathan Blum of the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services is skeptical.

“The reasons driving that variation don’t add up to us.”

The prices for major joint replacement can be thought of like a car’s sticker price.

People on Medicare or private insurance pay much less. But the sticker price is what people who don’t have insurance are expected to pay.

Many hospitals also offer charity care.

CMS data for Oregon hospitals

CMS data for procedure 470 major joint replacement for Oregon hospitals

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