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MSHA officials: Federal payments a better measure of hospital prices

Madison Mathews, NET News Service • May 14, 2013 at 7:26 AM

While the amount hospitals charge for various treatments varies dramatically from facility to facility, the amount the federal government pays hospitals for treatment of Medicare patients represents a closer look at the price of actual treatment, an official with Mountain States Health Alliance said Monday.

Figures taken from the federal government’s release of Medicare provider charge data last week show that the average amount the government paid to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment of simple pneumonia and pleurisy in 2011 was $6,041, while paying $5,244 to Franklin Woods Community Hospital and $5,678 to Sycamore Shoals Hospital for the same treatment.

Payments are substantially lower than charges, which Mountain States Chief Financial Officer Marvin Eichorn said don’t reflect the amount that is ultimately paid to hospitals by the federal government.

“That’s what the government says is the most we’re going to collect,” he said of the payments that were included in the report.

Read more at the Johnson City Press.

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