California group finds wide variation in surgery prices across the state

The California Public Interest Research Group has found that hospital surgery prices vary widely across the state, according to an article in the Sacramento Bee. 

The findings are from 2010, from data hospitals are required to report to the state.  Key findings from the article include:

  • The cost of a laparoscopic hysterectomy ranged from $47,500 to $83,172.
  • For angioplasty, prices ranged from an average of $44,000 in Bakersfield to $144,922 in San Jose.
  • Charges for a C-section ranged from a low of $17,560 all the way to $40,167.

The California Hospital Association notes that it is difficult to determine what drives these price differences.  Some patients have complex medical conditions that make care more costly, but from the data it is difficult to get at that information.  Other factors which may be driving the cost variation include how expensive a hospital's specialty services are.

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, July 17, 2012; The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com, July 18, 2012)