Why was the web site developed?
New Hampshire hospitals are committed to playing a leading role in promoting health care transparency to educate consumers. This web site is one step toward provide the consumer and other with information about hospital prices.
Who will use Price Transparency?
We envision that consumers of healthcare, policymakers and other healthcare provide will use this web site.
What is included in a hospital charge?
The charges listed are for hospital services only. They do not include physician charges such as those for a surgeon or anesthesiologist.
Why do charges vary from hospital to hospital?
Each hospital has a unique combination of payers, patients and services. Payer mix, which is the proportion of courses of payment, can be a major factor. For example, Medicare and Medicaid payments, which are determined by the government without regard to hospitals’ actual charges, are much lower than what it even costs a hospital to provide care.
Hospitals which serve more Medicare and Medicaid patients have to recover a greater portion of their cost through other sources, such as privately insured patients.
Other factors reflected in hospitals’ charge structure include:
Facility Cost Structures - Facilities differ in their approach to pricing based on operational costs. Some facilities try to spread the cost of all services and equipment among all patients. Others establish charges for specific services based on the cost to provide each specific service. Furthermore, some facilities may decide, or be forced; to provide certain services at a loss while other facility operations subsidize the losses. Any of these situations can result in significantly different changes among hospitals for a given type of service.
New Technology - The equipment facilities use to provide services differs in age, sophistication, and frequency of use. Facilities with the latest technology may have higher charges than those with older, less sophisticated equipment.
Staffing Costs - Salary scales may differ by region and are typically higher in urban than rural areas. Shortages of nurses and other medical personnel may affect regions differently. Where shortages are more severe, staffing costs, and, therefore charges, may be higher.
Intensity of Care - Some facilities are equipped to care for more severely ill patients than others. Patients within the same diagnosis or procedure category may need very different levels of service and staff attention, causing variation in charges.
Service Frequency - The per-patient cost of services is generally higher if the type of hospitalization occurs infrequently at the facility. Furthermore, a single case with unusually high or low charges can greatly affect a facility’s average charge if the facility reported only a few cases in a given time period.
Capital Expenses - Facilities differ in the amount of debt and depreciation they must cover in their charge structure. Facilities may choose to lease or purchase equipment of facilities. The choices made about financing of capital projects may affect charges in different ways.
How often is data refreshed?
The data will be published annually.
Does Price Transparency address all “transparency” issues?
Price Transparency does not and cannot answer all questions about hospital services and charges. But the web site can help start the transparency conversation in which patients, providers, employers and insurer must all participate.
Of course, there are limitations to the utility of hospital charges. Other in the health care market also have a responsibility to be “transparent”. Insurers and health plans, for example, must be the source of specific information about out-of-pocket liability for patients because health care providers do not know the details of each patient’s health care coverage.
Will new measures be added in the future?
The web site will never be a finished product. We anticipate regular enhancements to improve the value of the information for users.