June 2, 2006


Medicare posts 30 procedures' prices (Julie Appleby, 6/02/06, USA TODAY)

How much Medicare pays for hip replacements, cardiac surgery and 28 other procedures in each of the nation's counties went online Thursday, in the government's first effort to post hospital price information for consumers.

The move comes as employers and others who pay the nation's $1.9 trillion health care tab encourage patients to be more like savvy shoppers when it comes to medical care, currently a difficult prospect because so little comparative information on cost and quality is available.

That the federal government, the nation's largest purchaser of health care, is posting such information on its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website is important, employer groups say.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 2, 2006 7:36 AM

A sensible idea might be a centralized campus approach where only particular procedures are done at each "college," so patients could be reasonably sure there would be the latest technology. This specialization would result in lowered costs because every local hospital wouldn't try to offer a complete array of medical services. Add some humane treatment for family and friends with a central complex of hotels, restaurants, movies, shops and, of course, wireless internet access to serve the whole campus. Local municipalities could retain small hospitals for minor procedures, emergency rooms, labs, etc.

The Mayo Clinic has tried to do something like this, but although their facilities and grounds are beautiful, there is far too much regimentation in the way they see patients. Patients are merely cogs in their vast wheel of rules and regs. Not to my liking at all.

There has been little change in our way of doing things even though our daily lives have changed radically. We really need to rethink every aspect of our lives in light of 21st century life.

Posted by: erp at June 2, 2006 11:17 AM