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US hospital charges vary wildly, Medicare data show

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f3072 (Published 13 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3072
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

A hospital in California charges Medicare $223 373.07 (£145 000; €172 000) for a major joint replacement, while a hospital in Oklahoma charges $5303.60 for the same procedure, US government data show.1

The data cover the average charges to Medicare in 2011 from more than 3000 US hospitals for the 100 most common inpatient treatments and procedures, such as joint replacement surgery, gallbladder removal, and treatments for heart attacks and heart failure.

The database shows wide disparities in hospital charges not only from region to region but even between hospitals a few miles apart.

The charge for the …

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