The intersection of maternity care, data transparency, health care costs and patient safety in a weekly curated list of articles of interest.
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Wide Variation Found In Hospital Facility Costs For Maternity Stays Involving Low-Risk Childbirth
Childbirth is the leading cause of hospital admission in the United States, yet there has been little research on variation in hospital costs associated with childbirth.
The large variation in estimated facility cost for low-risk childbirths among hospitals suggests that hospital practices might be an important contributor to variation in cost and that there may be opportunities for cost reduction. The safe reduction of cesarean deliveries, increasing the coordination of care, and emphasizing value of care through new payment and delivery systems reforms may help reduce hospital costs and cost variation associated with childbirth in the United States.
Big Push: Hospitals Turn To ‘Laborists’ For Safer Deliveries
As a result, the two remaining obstetricians here no longer have to worry about being on call every other day because an obstetrician is always at the hospital. “This gives my patients a safe passage for delivery,” said Dr. Albert French, 64, who has been delivering babies in Milford for 16 years.
But the change has also meant his patients sometimes may be delivered by a doctor they’ve never met before. “It’s a trade-off of familiarity for availability,” he said.
Health care pricing in Florida remains murky
When Maxxzandra Ford’s baby boy arrived in February, a number of unexpected hospital bills arrived with him.
“They don’t tell you how much the anesthesiologist is going to cost,” said Ford, who gave birth at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital in Tampa. “If you get an epidural or pain medicine, there’s an extra charge there.”
There were other surprise charges from doctors along the way, like $250 for each ultrasound.
Welcome to the mysterious world of health care pricing. Patients frequently receive medical services without knowing the cost — and remain in the dark until the bill arrives.
Sometimes even doctors don’t know how much procedures cost.
The Real Price of Having a Baby
The hospital where you give birth plays a huge role in how much you’ll pay out of pocket.
Which hospital parents pick to deliver their baby can have serious cost consequences, according to a new study.
Hospital costs for women who had no maternal or obstetric risk factors to complicate childbirth ranged from less than $2,000 to nearly $12,000, the analysis of discharge data found. The wide variation in cost means that for expectant parents, it can pay to shop around.
Record Number of Hospitals Commit to Transparency, but Some Still Struggle to Provide Consistently Safe, High-Quality Care
Last year, just over 1,500 U.S. hospitals voluntarily completed the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the highest recorded participation to date.
The Anthem-Cigna Deal Raises A Big Question For The U.S. Insurance Business
This isn’t really the companies’ fault. In fact, a lot of them are now innovating in ways that could be good for patients in the long run. But here’s the fundamental disconnect: The insurance industry has failed at managing health care costs.
Out-of-network costs lurk even at in-network hospitals
“I called my insurance company and they gave me the song and dance about how this physician was a nonparticipating provider,” she said. “I said, ‘I went to your participating hospital. How does this make sense?’”
But she was told that the charge was legitimate and that she was on the hook for the bill.
Like Martin, millions of Americans get surprise bills from doctors who don’t participate with their health plan but who practice in hospitals that do.
Time to promote fairness and transparency in healthcare
According to an American Medical Association survey, doctors spend on average 20 hours a week filling out authorization paperwork for medications and tests — time better spent on caring for patients. With a shortage of health care providers nationwide and 12 million more Americans with health insurance, obstacles like these undermine the entire ACA system of care by discouraging providers committed to quality and efficiency from accepting insurance altogether.
Consumers are struggling to compare medical prices and find providers
The reality is health care costs are typically hidden and they vary significantly from provider to provider. Consumers have no safe place to find accurate information about prices and providers.
Infection prevention methods in US vary after cesarean delivery
A survey of U.S. academic centers revealed marked variability in the practices used to prevent infections after cesarean delivery.