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CA Hospital Price Lists Shows Wide Variation for Basic Procedures

California Healthline examined hospital price lists — “chargemasters” — of four large acute care hospitals in Oakland, Calif., and another four in Los Angeles, using the documents California hospitals have been reporting annually to the California Department of Public Health — the same information the federal government is now requiring all hospitals to post on their websites. The comparison of some basic procedures found wide-ranging prices, sometimes between hospitals that are part of the same network or located just miles from each other. For instance, the list price on a liter of basic saline solution for intravenous use ranged from $56 to $383, nearly seven times as much. A brain MRI with contrast was priced from $3,200 to $8,800 at the hospitals.

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