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Large Price Variations for Same Surgery in Minnesota Hospitals, Report Finds

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A new Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) report finds large swings in prices between hospitals, and also large price differences within a single hospital.

A patient undergoing one of four hospital procedures may pay between two to nearly seven times as much as another patient at the same hospital, according to the MDH report. As shown, this can mean a price difference from about $7,000 to nearly $70,000.

This report, the second in a series, analyzes the prices paid from July 2014 to June 2015 for a set of four common procedures at Minnesota hospitals: spinal fusion surgery, major bowel surgery, appendectomy and removal of uterine fibroids. To make direct comparisons meaningful the analysis looks only at commercially insured patients with minor or moderate clinical complexity.

The report, based on commercial payer data only, is the result of employers teaming up with the Minnesota Department of Health to identify new ways to use Minnesota’s All Payer Claims Database (MN APCD) to better understand health care trends across the state.

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