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How do local health treatment costs compare?

Published: Sunday, May 19, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Government data released last week lists average charges for the 100 most common Medicare services from 2011.

There are 57 services for which charges were available for four area hospitals: Advocate Good Shepherd in Barrington; Centegra Hospital – McHenry; Centegra Hospital – Woodstock; and Sherman Hospital in Elgin.

Mercy Harvard Hospital isn't included in the federal database because it's a critical access hospital. These rural community hospitals receive cost-based reimbursements from Medicare instead of standard fixed reimbursements like other hospitals, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The data table below shows the average covered charges, the average Medicare reimbursements and the total number of discharges in 2011.

To compare the hospitals for any specific prodecure, you can select the procedure from the Diagnosis-Related Group drop-down list. For a list of prices at one of the four hospitals, select the hospital from the Provider drop-down list.

More sorting can be done by clickiing on the Define groupings and calculations link in the upper left.

Of the 57 services available at all four hospitals, Sherman had the highest average charge in 54 categories. On average, treating patients who had heart failure with multiple complications, Sherman charged nearly twice as much for the same treatment than the three other area hospitals.

For more complex care, such as treating a patient with a respiratory system diagnosis on ventilator support, the cost differences were even wider in some cases.

In the bar graph below, see how prices vary between the hospitals for these two procedures.

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